Palmer Luckey (above, right) is leaving Oculus, the virtual reality startup he co-founded and later sold to Facebook.
Continue Reading Below
The two companies on Thursday confirmed Luckey's departure, which was first reported by UploadVR. His exit comes six months after he was embroiled in controversy for secretly bankrolling an internet meme group circulating anti-Hillary Clinton propaganda during the 2016 presidential election.
It's unclear if Luckey's ensuing unpopularity in the overwhelmingly liberal Silicon Valley played a role in his leaving Facebook, which he is scheduled to do on Friday, according to UploadVR. In a statement, Oculus said that "Palmer will be dearly missed. Palmer's legacy extends far beyond Oculus. His inventive spirit helped kickstart the modern VR revolution and build an industry. We're thankful for everything he did for Oculus and VR, and we wish him all the best."
In September, reports surfaced that Luckey, now 24, donated money to the pro-Donald Trump organization Nimble America, which describes itself as a crowdfunded nonprofit focused on "promoting the ideals of America First" and dedicated to proving that "s**tposting is powerful and meme magic is real."
Luckey later clarified that while he did donate to Nimble America, his views did not represent the values of Oculus. "I am deeply sorry that my actions are negatively impacting the perception of Oculus and its partners," he wrote on Facebook in September.
Since the episode, Luckey has kept a low profile save for a court appearance in the ZeniMax trade secrets case Oculus ultimately lost. Palmer has not participated in Oculus events and announcements, including the company's annual developers conference in October. The role of virtual reality cheerleader-in-chief at Facebook has since mostly fallen to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, who has sought to portray Oculus's VR technology as revolutionary to the way people communicate on the internet.