A few weeks ago, a report from The Daily Beast uncovered the fact that Oculus Rift creator and Time Magazine’s best ever cover star, Palmer Luckey, has donated $10,000 to Nimble America, a group that creates memes and shitposts in favour of the Toupéd Cheeto himself, Donald Trump.
Nimble America (NA) is run by two former r/The_Donald moderators who used to promote white supremacist/anti-semitic memes for fun (images are too troubling to share, but The Daily Beast has a write up of some examples). One of the group’s projects includes a giant billboard of Hillary Clinton captioned “Too Big to Jail”.
Luckey, posting as NimbleRichMan, has also made some (non-monetary) contributions to the NA reddit. In one post, the Nimble money-man calls Clinton “corrupt,” “a warmonger” and someone who strips freedoms from citizens. It’s worth noting that despite reportedly admitting to The Daily Beast via email that he had wrote the NimbleRichMan posts, Luckey now claims that he didn’t write the posts from that account.
A Mountain of Money
Palmer Luckey is said to have $700 million making a mountain in his bank account (thanks to Facebook’s $2 billion purchase of Oculus) which he is free to spend on whatever he likes. He’s also free to say whatever he wants on the Internet; tell us how you really feel Palmer, God knows the world needs more outspoken white guys with bad opinions!
He’s also free to support whatever cause or political campaign he feels like, as he does frequently, liking pro-Trump and pro-Gamergate tweets on Twitter.
It’s fair for Luckey to see this as an opportunity to rally against the American “elite” (seemingly forgetting that he is a near-billionaire, thus a member of the elite himself) and a way of supporting “fresh ideas on how to communicate with young voters.” He has the right, as a private citizen, to free speech and I support that.
None of the candidates (Clinton, Trump, third-party) are perfect so there would probably be issues no matter which candidate Nimble America is for. People have a right to be angry at Luckey’s support of the angry orange pimple as much as Luckey has a right to support him.
Personally, I don’t care who Luckey votes for in November (though, he says he’s a libertarian and will be voting for Gary Johnson, not Trump) but I do care about what messages and ideals he aligns himself with, especially if said messages have a potential impact on the industry.
I care that Luckey is happy to take money from consumers – which includes those same groups that Trump has taken aim at – but is happy to stand by and even pledge money to those that are happy to shit all over the rights that those consumers enjoy.
I’m not saying that Luckey stands by all of Trump’s policies, but he is paying to promote them. Said policies include overturning marriage equality, (the consideration of) a total ban of Muslims entering America, a giant wall to cut off Mexico, and about a hundred other discriminatory stances that would make your stomach turn.
Essentially, unless your a cisgendered, heterosexual, white male who lives in the United States, Trump and the Nimble memes and shitposts are probably against you. That’s an awfully large chunk of the Oculus Rift consumer base too but as long as Luckey is sitting pretty with rights and that aforementioned Facebook fundage, it’s all good, right?
I care that Luckey, who relies on the media to promote Oculus Rift and fellow developers to make games for the device, is also happy to support Gamergate, according to his Twitter likes. It’s a movement which has made life a living hell for media critics and developers alike, through doxxing, death threats and otherwise, horrific methods of harassment.
Luckey’s support is certainly confusing since Oculus can not, and would not, exist on such a high platform without devs or journos but it’s also pretty damn despicable. I’d ask how the Oculus creator can sleep at night knowing that he’s given so many silent, social media thumbs ups to the witchhunt but the answer is obvious: he sleeps soundly, on piles of money.
In a statement, Luckey has apologized, saying that “my actions were my own and do not represent Oculus. I’m sorry for the impact my actions are having on the community.” But the damage has already been done.
VR developers may have already pulled Oculus Rift support for their titles in protest, but Luckey has already lent his influence to NA and Gamergate, giving both groups legitimacy. His actions are essentially a pat on the back to these groups and a surefire guarantee that all of the toxicity, the chaos and the abuse will continue; this time as an act of martyrdom.
Luckey may have felt that his actions with Nimble America were just a “jolly good time” (his own words) but just as the Nimble America slogan goes, he has quickly learnt that while “shitposting is powerful,” not even “meme magic” can save you from the backlash.
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