If Peter Thiel, the Trump supporting billionaire who backed companies including PayPal and Facebook, isn’t being accepted in Silicon Valley, you know the climate for employees who dare to express non-leftist political or cultural views is becoming seriously toxic.
That heat is a major factor behind Thiel’s decision to move his home and personal investment firms out of Silicon Valley to Los Angeles, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
This is not Thiel’s first brush with the left, nor is he the only conservative feeling the backlash from what is being described as a “persuasive problem” in Silicon Valley. One result of that growing intolerance has been an exodus of conservatives, according to a recent survey by right-leaning Lincoln Network, which says the animosity has increased as the industry’s intellectual diversity has decreased.
FOX Business takes a look at the conservative power players being shunned by Silicon Valley’s socialists.
The billionaire investor, with a net worth of nearly $3 billion per Forbes, has been an advocate for President Trump since the commander-in-chief’s days on the campaign trail. That connection has presented a slew of issues for Thiel.
“Silicon Valley is a one-party state,” Thiel said during a debate over politics and technology at Stanford University, his alma mater. “The other side doesn’t care for you, and your side doesn’t care for you because they don’t need to.”
Thiel, who cofounded PayPal in 1998, has been a major influence in the tech industry over the years. He invested $500,000 in Facebook in 2004, the year the social media behemoth was founded and has been a member of the company’s board since 2005. However, due to his conservative views and support for Trump’s campaign, Thiel found himself in a dispute with a fellow director, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing sources familiar with the venture capitalist’s thinking, who also said a related confrontation over boardroom leaks with Facebook cofounder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg last summer contributed to the souring relations.
The New York Times reported in August that Thiel was informed he would receive a negative review of his board performance by fellow Facebook board member and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.
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Thiel did not respond to FOX Business’ multiple requests for comment.
Less than two weeks into his new role as CEO of Mozilla — the producer of the Firefox web browser — Eich, also a donor to the Republican Party, was out of a job—announcing he had “chosen to step down” in early April 2014.
Shortly after the tech exec’s promotion was announced in late March 2014, the record of a donation Eich made in support of California’s Proposition 8, a ballot measure approved by voters in 2008 that eliminated the right for same-sex couples to marry (later found unconstitutional by a federal appeals court), surfaced.
Employees at the tech firm complained about the opposition of Eich, an observant Roman Catholic, to same-sex marriage, with many taking to Twitter to voice their discontent. Dating website OkCupid presented Firefox users with a message suggesting they use another browser to access their site due to the company’s disapproval of Eich’s stance on the issue.
“Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid,” the message read.
The programmer and former tech exec has donated to Republican politicians in the past, including a combined $1,000 to Pat Buchanan in the early 1990s, and a total of $2,500 to Ron Paul in 1996 and 1998, according to public records from the Center for Responsive Politics.
Eich declined FOX Business’ request for comment.
Formerly an engineer at Google, Damore was fired after releasing a diversity memo in early August 2017 that included calls for the web search giant to stop alienating conservatives.
In the memo, officially titled “Google's Ideological Echo Chamber,” Damore wrote that conservatives are a minority in “highly progressive environments” and that those with different beliefs should be able to express themselves. He also noted women are under-represented in tech leadership roles.
“Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness, which is required for much of the drudgery and maintenance work characteristic of a mature company,” Damore, who considers himself a classical liberal, wrote in the manifesto.
Last week Damore lost a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board that stated the search giant was within its right to fire him. At the time the suit was filed, Google defended its position with the following statement, “We have strong policies against retaliation, harassment and discrimination in the workplace. We also strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves. An important part of our culture is lively debate. But like any workplace that doesn't mean that anything goes, as we explained here.” The company also included a memo to employees.
Despite the ruling, Damore is not backing down.
“You don’t know anyone who voted for Trump, no one is willing to admit that they did,” said Damore when asked about the president by FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto on “Cavuto: Coast to Coast” on Tuesday. “It is unfortunate that people can’t bring their whole selves to work,” he added.
The fired Google engineer has since filed a class-action lawsuit against the company claiming he was wrongfully terminated. His attorney, Harmeet Dhillon of the Dhillon Law Group, joined him on “Cavuto: Coast to Coast” and said “dozens and dozens” of workers have contacted her office regarding the suit.
“This is a persuasive problem and Google is definitely the worst offender, but there are other companies in Silicon Valley with similiar issues” she said.
Google declined comment.