Zuckerberg Defends Thiel's Trump Donation

'There are many reasons a person might support Trump,' says the Facebook CEO
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2016 8:33 AM CDT
Zuckerberg Defends Thiel's Trump Donation
Trump supporter Peter Thiel speaks at the Republican National Convention in July.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence about billionaire Peter Thiel's $1.25 million donation to Donald Trump, saying the Facebook board member has a right to his opinion, CNNMoney reports. "We care deeply about diversity," Zuckerberg wrote in an internal post to employees. "That's easy to do when it means standing up for ideas you agree with. It's a lot harder when it means standing up for the rights of people with different viewpoints to say what they care about." Dubbed "the only living Trump supporter in Silicon Valley" by the Guardian, Thiel took the podium at the Republican National Convention to praise Trump (and declare he was proud to be gay). Zuckerberg defended the PayPal founder, Facebook's first investor, saying the social network supports differing political views, even tough ones.

"We can't create a culture that says it cares about diversity and then excludes almost half the country because they back a political candidate," Zuckerberg wrote. "There are many reasons a person might support Trump that do not involve racism, sexism, xenophobia, or accepting sexual assault." USA Today notes that the Thiel brouhaha comes as the tech industry is under fire for its lack of diversity. Nearly seven out of 10 Facebook employees are men, with a scant percentage of African-Americans. Not everyone agrees. Ellen Pao, co-founder of Project Include, said her diversity initiative would cut ties to Y Combinator, an incubator in which Thiel is a partner. "This isn't a disagreement on tax policy," Pao posted on Medium. "Giving more power to someone whose ascension and behavior strike fear into so many people is unacceptable." (Thiel bankrolled Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker.)

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