Online abuse and bullying have existed as long as the internet has, but it's gone mainstream in a big way over the last few years. Perhaps not coincidentally, we've also spent the last year-plus subjected to Donald Trump's presidential campaign, an outing built on lies, harassment, intimidation and a whole host of other behavior not befitting a candidate for the country's highest office. These two trends collided late last week when it was revealed that Oculus VR founder and Facebook employee Palmer Luckey donated 10,000 to a pro-Trump group called Nimble America. The group's stated purpose is to prove "shitposting is powerful and meme magic is real." Thus far, there's no evidence that Nimble America has been able to do anything aside from put up one insulting but fairly mild anti-Hillary Clinton billboard outside of Pittsburgh.
Last night The Daily Beast reported that Oculus founder Palmer Luckey is the "NimbleRichMan" behind a group of Donald Trump supporters pushing anti-Hillary Clinton memes, and now Luckey has responded. In a Facebook post claiming recent news stories don't accurately reflect his views (and light on references to either shitposting or meme magic), the 24-year-old claimed his support of the Nimble America group consisted of a 10,000 donation because "because I thought the organization had fresh ideas," and that he did not write the posts credited to the pseudonym or delete the account. Facing claims by a number of developers (including Polytron, TomorrowTodayLabs and others) that they would not support the Oculus VR platform if he remained attached to it, Luckey apologized for the impact of his actions. Even with this statement, it will be tough for anyone to forget his link to people known for spreading memes with racist, homophobic and other offensive themes, but he says he has no plans to donate further. Unfortunately, the post also fails to answer our biggest question about the scandal -- that someone out there is actually paying for 4chan-style posts and blatantly ignorant Pepe memes.
There is nothing virtual about Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey's support of Donald Trump. The VR millionaire is financially backing a pro-Trump organization called Nimble America that aims to circulate anti-Hillary Clinton memes across the internet, reports the The Daily Beast. And who helped Luckey create Nimble America? None other than conservative pundit Milo Yiannopoulos, recently famous for being banned from Twitter after harassing Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones online. Nimble America describe itself as a "social welfare 501(c)4 non-profit" that believes "shitposting is powerful and meme magic is real," and lists a Reddit user by the name of NimbleRichMan as the group's co-founder.
Palmer Luckey, the 24-year-old co-founder of Oculus VR and creator of Oculus Rift, is using his considerable wealth to back Donald Trump. Luckey, whose net worth is estimated at roughly 700 million, told the Daily Beast that he is funding "Nimble America" -- a pro-Trump group dedicated to "shitposting" and creating viral anti-Hillary Clinton memes. Shitposting refers to the practice of trying to derail a meaningful conversation on any online platform by posting irrelevant, meaningless, and often offensive comments, memes or pictures. The group has also taken credit for a billboard allegedly posted near Pittsburgh, showing an enlarged image of Clinton's face next to the words, "Too Big to Jail." "We believe that America has been lead by poor leaders who have abandoned American principles and sold out all Americans. With the right leadership America will reverse its course towards mediocrity and globalism, becoming great again," the group, which describes itself as a "social welfare 501(c)4 non-profit," wrote.
Many Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and developers haven't taken too kindly to the news that Palmer Luckey -- the 24-year-old co-founder of Oculus VR and creator of Oculus Rift -- has been secretly backing a pro-Donald Trump group dedicated to "shitposting" and creating viral anti-Hillary Clinton memes. According to several media reports, Luckey's anti-Clinton stance and speculation over his possible association with the prominent alt-right spokesman Milo Yiannopoulos -- who was recently banned from Twitter for allegedly inciting trolls to verbally harass "Ghostbusters" actress Leslie Jones -- has led several developers to distance themselves from the VR company. "Hey Oculus, Palmer Luckey's actions are unacceptable," Tomorrow Today Labs, a Seattle-based VR videos games company currently working on an unannounced VR game, wrote in a tweet Friday. Scruta Games, another developer that employs VR, also voiced its discontent on Twitter, stating that it would cancel Oculus support for its games until Luckey steps down from his position at the company. He is free to vote for whoever he pleases.