Palmer Luckey allegedly sent Donald Trump $100,000 for his inauguration

Update April 19, 2017: Following last year's controversy and backlash - detailed in the previous stories below - you might have thought Oculus founder Palmer Luckey would have stepped back from financially funding political organisations, but it seems he sent Donald Trump $100,000 in January this year. 

The $100,000 was sent to President Donald Trump's inaugural committee on January 4, from a company called Wings of Time. There was no name associated with the organisation on the listing, according to a report by Mother Jones.

If you want to escape this planet for a bit, here's our list of the best VR games

The committee filings show an address in Los Angeles for Wings of Time, but company records show a different address, located in Long Beach. It's an address Luckey has used in the past for other business projects. 

Additionally, California corporation records list another business as the manager of Wings of Time LLC - Fiendlord's Keep. Luckey is down as the sole officer of Fiendlord's Keep. Fiendlord's Keep and Wings of Time are both terms from JRPG Chrono Trigger - apparently one of Luckey's favourite games. 

Last month Luckey departed Facebook, though Facebook wouldn't comment on whether his leaving was voluntary or not. 

Update September 28, 2016: The fallout continues after the revelations that Oculus founder Palmer Luckey had been funding a pro-Trump meme posting organisation with ties to the alt-right.

Already developers have been threatening to boycott the VR platform until Luckey stands down, but now members of the Oculus Diversity Program are speaking out against him. 

As Buzzfeed report, back in May there was an Oculus developers bootcamp dubbed the Launch Pad program, a fellowship designed “for diverse creators to build for VR.” Luckey was the final speaker at the event, and many took this as a sign: the Oculus founder wants to build an open and diverse company. 

Recent revelations about his political leanings obviously fly in the face of this, so members are now voicing their concerns. “The mood is surprise, shock, dismay, and disappointment,” one Launch Pad fellow, a California-based producer, told BuzzFeed News. “A number of people are creating documentaries to address social issues, and they are questioning whether Oculus is the right platform.”

Alejandro Quan-Madrid, a Launch Pad fellow based in Los Angeles, claims Luckey’s political donations make him feel like a hypocrite. “I’m doing a Day of the Dead project and showing it at Day of the Dead festivals,” he told BuzzFeed News. “How can I promote that when the head of Oculus is giving money [to support] Trump - and Trump wants people in my community to be deported?”

It seems that things are even happening within the company itself, as the Launch Pad coordinator, Oculus Diversity lead, Amy Thole, stopped working for the company just a couple of days ago. She explained the move in an email to fellows, saying there would be an "Oculus Diversity transition" to new leadership, with Ebony Peay, previously executive assistant at Oculus, taking her place. There was no mention of recent controversies in the email.

Launch Pad fellows have just a few days left to decide whether they will accept funding from Oculus or send a message, as the winning projects will be announced in October. If they choose to do the latter, they'll be joining scores of developers who have already done the same. More on that below...

Update September 24, 2016: Palmer Luckey has denied supporting presidential candidate Donald Trump while funding a pro-Trump organisation despite authoring several posts under a confirmed pseudonym.

The co-founder of VR giant and now Facebook subsidiary Oculus issued an official response to reports that he bankrolled pro-Trump meme machine Nimble America by denying he wrote supportive Reddit posts under the pseudonym NimbleRichMan.

"I am committed to the principles of fair play and equal treatment," Luckey states in a Facebook post. "I did not write the "NimbleRichMan" posts, nor did I delete the account. Reports that I am a founder or employee of Nimble America are false. I don’t have any plans to donate beyond what I have already given to Nimble America."

However authors of the original Daily Beast article, which exposed Luckey as the near-billionaire backer of the campaigning organisation, have revealed email exchanges in which the $700m net-worth entrepreneur explicitly admitted to penning the posts.

Further evidence from Resnick, co-author of the Daily Beast article, shows Luckey identifying posts made under the NimbleRichMan moniker as representative of his own personal views, as well as admitting to publishing at least one by his own hand.

Also, here's a video of Palmer Luckey at a Trump rally in Costa Mesa (at 1:53) in case that wasn't quite enough:

Update September 23, 2016: A number of VR developers are threatening to boycott Oculus if its co-founder, Palmer Luckey, isn’t kicked out of company following the revelation he financially supports an organisation focused on discrediting Hillary Clinton with unflattering memes.

As reported in the original copy below, Luckey revealed he was pumping cash into a pro-Donald Trump organisation set up to undermine Clinton’s campaign for US president in an interview with The Daily Beast.

Now, in reaction, a slow trickle of developers have taken to Twitter to claim they will pull support for Oculus if Luckey doesn’t step down from his position.

As reported by Vice’s online magazine Motherboard, the number of developers ditching Oculus appears to be small in number and the studios involved largely indie.

Nevertheless, it could nevertheless be crucial for Oculus as it looks to hold on to developer support in these early days of the VR wars.

Indeed, it’s also important to note that this by no means represents the majority of Oculus developers. Many have declined to comment when pressed by the media, and one - Carboh Games co-founder James Green - dismissed any notion of dropping Oculus.

"This backlash is nonsense," offered Green. "I absolutely support him doing whatever he wants politically if it's legal. To take any other position is against American values."

Original story, September 23: Oculus VR co-founder Palmer Luckey has been using his significant cashflow to bankroll Nimble America, a group of Donald Trump backers dedicated to circulating unflattering memes about Hillary Clinton.

Nimble America is a pro-Trump political organisation -  who describe themselves as “social welfare 501(c)4 non-profit” - that uses memes to mock Trump's presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, reports The Daily Beast.

The group claim responsiblity for a billboard posted outside of Pittsburgh that showed a blown-up image of Clinton’s face alongside the words 'Too Big to Jail'.

“It’s something that no campaign is going to run,” Luckey said of the billboards. “I’ve got plenty of money. Money is not my issue. I thought it sounded like a real jolly good time.”

Luckey is listed as vice president of the group on their website, though he claims he's just a benefactor. He also posted on behalf of the group using the pseudonym 'NimbleRichMan' (an account that's since been deleted), on Reddit, with a password supplied to him by the organisation's founders. 

Despite his claims that it's just a "jolly good time", there are hints in his Reddit posts that suggest he's looking to make some kind of political change. “The American Revolution was funded by wealthy individuals,” NimbleRichMan wrote on Saturday, since confirmed to be Luckey by The Daily Beast.

“The same has been true of many movements for freedom in history. You can’t fight the American elite without serious firepower. They will outspend you and destroy you by any and all means.”

Luckey reportedly worked alongside Milo Yiannopoulos, a man best known for being permanently suspended from Twitter for harassment and being upset when his blue verification tick was taken away. As The Daily Beast reports, they met around the time Yiannopoulos was raising money to send white men to college, though it later transpired that the $100,000 donations made into his bank account were never distributed into the scholarship fund.

Along with Luckey, Nimble America was founded by two moderators of Reddit’s r/The_Donald, a subreddit that asks applicants answer the questions, “Is there a difference between white nationalism and white supremacy?” and “Was 9/11 an inside job?”.

“I think these guys are pretty legit," Luckey said. "The sums of money are so small, I don’t think they’re out to scam anybody. If they disappear with the money, I wouldn’t throw any more money at them.”

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Shriven avatarKinth! avatarJack1982cp avatarTovias avatarPixelMunk avatarboniek83 avatar+17
Shriven Avatar
3420
10 Months ago

......my word.

8
[GM] SocietyX Avatar
142
10 Months ago

What a world.. has it really become so toxic in this country that now Developers are letting who they make games for be decided by POLITICS? As if you can afford to make business choices as an indie dev based on if someone likes Trump or not.. holy..

6
Anakhoresis Avatar
515
10 Months ago

To be fair, any business class will tell you that business choices should be motivated by ethics, not profits (theory being that being ethical will lead to profits), which is obviously what these companies are basing this choice on.

2
[GM] SocietyX Avatar
142
10 Months ago

Because we know in this world where CEOs keep increasing their own salarys while slashing their employees benefits and giving themselves bonuses after tax payer bail outs is ethical business at work :P

2
Anakhoresis Avatar
515
9 Months ago

Aw, I got downvoted? :(

I'm not saying that's what happens at the level of big business, just what business ethics classes will teach that an ideal business would do. Plus, don't people often praise Indie developers for NOT doing what big businesses do, for going by the "ideal business" playbook, with things like ethics (refunding users even under extreme circumstances, such as with Arcen Games and Emergency Raptor), transparency, going the extra mile to appease users, etc...?

Just saying that the typical "darling" indie dev model almost requires this kind of action.

3
Kinth! Avatar
194
10 Months ago

"I started with nothing" No he didn't. He came from a nice middle class family. He even got boating lessons as a child.

What exactly does he think makes America shit? The current state of America is what made him rich. Or is it somehow America's fault that they fucked up with the rift and it's just been PR disaster after PR disaster?

4
Jack1982cp Avatar
34
10 Months ago

So sick of reading about politics. Now I even get it at my gaming site.

3
PixelMunk Avatar
24
10 Months ago

I could not agree more with this statement.

2
Ocid Avatar
272
10 Months ago

oh... who gives a fuck.

3
ZedClampet Avatar
96
10 Months ago

It's a pathetic country I live in right now when you are forced to publicly apologize for supporting one of the two main candidates for President.

3
gfunk1369 Avatar
4
10 Months ago

Hey I'm all for free speech and Palmer lucky is completely free to support any political candidate he chooses. However, I am also free to not purchase his products because I disagree with him and refuse to support him in anyway. I don't think he should have to resign but I will be buying a vive. I mean the Pepe memes are bad enough but then all the other ridiculous stuff they post is just uncalled for.

2
UntoldAv3nGer Avatar
398
10 Months ago

Luckey should not be punished for supporting a certain candidate. You know that political correctness is replacing democracy when Clinton supporters act like supporting Trump is illegal.

1
llubtoille Avatar
204
10 Months ago

Given the elections are a matter of weeks away, at which point the media controversy will pretty much evaporate, there is really not point in Oculus reacting to this.

1
TsunamiWombat Avatar
599
10 Months ago

So long as he sticks to his lie, he'll be fine. Just lie in the face of all evidence. People will be forced to either accept your lie, accept you're insane, or give up. Worked for OJ.

1
Magnum9 Avatar
15
10 Months ago

Full comment below

1
ITPalg Avatar
7
10 Months ago

I already read this on another website a day or two ago, and I agree with the majority opinion there:

Most of these "VR game developers" are little children (and little known people; I have no idea what these games/people/companies are) whining.

Someone's politics should not have any bearing on game development. What if Unreal engine creators were found to be on a differing opinion of game devs? SOL on using UE then to you, you stupid game devs.

1
Jenks Avatar
253
9 Months ago

Did I just read about a witch hunt to see if someone supports the leading candidate for president of the united states? Has the left wing hit bottom yet, or can they get even lower?

1
llubtoille Avatar
204
3 Months ago

Dude's a retired billionaire, he can do whatever he wants with his money now.

1
KeefBaker Avatar
392
3 Months ago

I'm glad he sent Trump money, the poor lad has hardly any of his own.

1
Tovias Avatar
1024
10 Months ago

look at all these video games news fam

video games

0
boniek83 Avatar
110
10 Months ago

He has a right to his own opinions and political activism. That being said this is gaming site and such news shouldn't be here.

0
M16MoJo Avatar
14
10 Months ago

LoL, he just sold be on Oculus. Just kidding, the Vive seems to be a lot more consumer friendly. That being said, I kind of get why this is on here due to financial relevance... sorta. However, reporting on people's panties being a in a bunch, isn't really newsworthy.

0
Empyre Avatar
264
10 Months ago

Dude looks more and more like Gabe everytime I see a new phto of him.

-1
Magnum9 Avatar
15
10 Months ago

"Luckey was the final speaker at the event, and many took this as a sign: the Oculus founder wants to build an open and diverse company. "

"Recent revelations about his political leanings obviously fly in the face of this, so members are now voicing their concerns."

This is absolutely unacceptable and you should remove the second sentence because it is empirically false. Supporting Donald Trump does not disqualify you from supporting the idea of an open and diverse company (world).

It is not illegal to support Donald Trump. It is not illegal to donate money to an organization that supports Donald Trump. People who support Donald Trump have a variety of reasons why they support him/prefer him to Hillary Clinton. Supporting Donald Trump does not make you a racist by default. It does not make you a bigot by default. Supporting Donald Trump is not an "I agree with all points" package.

You're treading dangerously close to the off-putting drum beating of Polygon and Kotaku. Two sites (among plenty more) which myself and many others have abandoned due to growing weariness of this belligerent attitude towards large sections of their readership.

Look at these comments alone and realize something; We come here for video game news and articles. If you want to claim that this story requires daily updates because in a very, very, VERY loose way it is relevant to our industry... fine. But keep it objective and keep your strongly biased personal opinions restrained. You're a journalist, not a blogger. This isn't an opinions piece.

This site tends to do a very high quality job of covering upcoming PC gaming titles, hardware etc, and tends to have an above average community discourse. Don't throw that away over virtue signally falsehoods.

-1
et operiet ipsos formido Avatar
24
10 Months ago

I have to say--and this is not a personal attack--unpack what you're arguing here for a minute. Put aside the person of Trump and consider the following question purely in the abstract: does it actually matter if you, personally, are not racist if you support someone that promotes racist policy and rhetoric? It's rather irrelevant if it's just "part" of the "package"--it's still a part of it. Ignoring it doesn't make it disappear. To put it harshly, that's more than appeasement, that's facilitation. And it seems from your comment that you do, in fact, recognize that Trump traffics in racist bigotry.

At any rate, that several developers have cancelled their intentions of producing for the Oculus following this news rather clearly suggests that it is firmly within the area of "gaming news". And the updates reporting such developments are unquestionably within that realm--they are directly about the business decisions of game devs, as much of the news on this site is.

2
Magnum9 Avatar
15
10 Months ago

To the... err... second point of your first point (lol), yes, I understand that a good segment of Trump's supporters are fired up by his statements focused on people from specific countries of origin and specific ethnicity. Yes, the idiot white supremacist movement supports him. Yes, Trump himself exploits this sentiment, no doubt. He does so in his typical sideways manner of drumming it up, then disassociating with it, then landing somewhere in the middle. It's certainly a different strategy on the surface, but it's really the same dance all our politicians go through. I would argue Trump just lacks the duplicitous finesse of people who actually have practice in the game.

But if he is to be judged by the most extreme individuals that openly support him, then by that metric shouldn't Hillary be judged by the women supporting her while claiming all men should be castrated? Should Johnson be judged by a few nuts that believe the Second Amendment protects a citizens rights to own a nuclear weapon?

Building on that, to your first point, there are going to be a lot of people who are against Goldman Sachs committing wide scale financial malfeasance while facing no penalties... but they will consider voting for a candidate who will allow that cycle to continue business as usual, because they see the alternative (rightly so) as potentially far more disastrous. I would never label them as sociopathic "money over people"-ers just because they vote for someone based on the over all spectrum of what they see in the persons message.

Trust me, I know there are wide degrees of difference between how many Trumpers are legit racist and my other examples, but the point stands in relation to my comment that supporting Trump does not by default make you agree with everything he or his followers say. It should not automatically make you a target for a site that should be engaged in objective coverage. Again... this is meant to be a news site, not an opinion/blog site. It's supposed to be covering things, not spinning them.

And that brings me back to my ACTUAL original point. Kirk's comment that, because Luckey has donated to a pro-Trump organization, he somehow is incapable of being interested in a fair environment or diversity in his industry is unfair. It is just not demonstrably true. It is an assumption that is not based on any substantive fact. It taking the views of one segment of a politician's support base and projecting it on to everyone else who has considered that candidate as their preferred choice for president. And from what I understand... Luckey is actually considering voting for Johnson, not Trump. His main interest was undermining support for/targeting Hillary. (And perhaps doing so in meme-y durptastic Pepe troll fashion)

My statement that this is not video game news is directed at the fact that it is being updated not with actual news related to the developers and video games, but rather continued focus adjustments on the political narrative that the author is personally trying to push. Again, that's fine for him to have that opinion but THAT aspect of this story is not what I would consider video game news.

Granted... the YouTube video he linked to did do a great job of illustrating something. The people I see being intolerant, violent and hateful are the people PROTESTING Trump, not the rally attendees. Both sides are being overtaken by insane, far flung zealots that are immune to reason and discourse.

Keep it out of my damn PC news. Anyhow, your response does go to my final point... I would say the typical discourse on this site is above par from the other outlets I mentioned in my original post. I'd like to see this place stay somewhere that isn't poisoned by political/social drum beating.

-1
et operiet ipsos formido Avatar
24
10 Months ago

This is a great response that demonstrates a genuine degree of cohesion, but it strikes me that it also suffers from a bit of false equivalency. To start, I haven't seen Clinton actively advocate more deregulation in the financial industry--the opposite, in fact. Scouring her congressional voting record produces HR 1424 as the only actual piece of legislation that might possibly fall under the accusation that Clinton inordinately favors the financial industrial complex, and that was the banking bailout in 2008.

I have, however, seen Trump call for a flat ban on Muslim immigration as well as the construction of a wall (on top of the one that already exists) to block out "rapists" and "murderers". These are actual policy points he has espoused, beyond the list of racist dog-whistles employed by Trump. And it really cannot be dismissed that his performance in the polls during the primaries rose after each of these statements. I suspect from the above that you would agree his very being the nominee rests on the support he receives from the white supremacists you also mention--support which would not exist without his political stance. As you say, he has exploited their support specifically, as none of the other Republican nominees did. On the other hand, there are no policy platforms coming from Clinton which expressly or even remotely call for any sort of disenfranchisement of the male populace--it would indeed be utterly far fetched to say that a Clinton supporter automatically supports male castration.

That is to say, this is not a case of guilt by association, but actual substance. As Trump has trumpeted racially discriminatory policy as foundational planks in his campaign in as substantial a fashion as any of his economic proposals, a vote/support for Trump actually is a vote/support for those policies, as distasteful as that reality may seem. Again, it actually does not matter if you are racist or not if you support a candidate whose candidacy is built on racist rhetoric and policy--it still rather flies in the face of building diversity, to put it mildly, does it not?

As to the reportage here, it's a bit surprising that such a well-considered individual such as yourself as revealed in your comments would take a rather innocuous deduction that Luckey's backing of an alt-right group is counter to diversity promotion so personally. The alt-right, after all, has explicitly been identified by numerous hate watch groups as white supremacist in philosophy and substance. This deduction isn't exactly indicative of a "belligerent attitude towards large sections of [this site's] readership," and outside of that one case the rest of this post is straight reportage--quotes and developments expressly pertaining to the actions of game devs in the public sphere, with two of the updates dealing with business decisions as well.

I do agree, however, that this election season and everything it has touched has been quite disheartening and exhausting.

4
brmorgen82 Avatar
58
3 Months ago

didnt know this site was a shill site for democrats, thought it was a video game site.

For shame.

-2
WhiteCrow Avatar
346
10 Months ago

This guy is as much of a cartoon as Trump is. This shit is just .. God damn some days I just pray for a nuclear holocaust.

-3