Uproar at Facebook Over Exec's Presence at Kavanaugh Hearing

Some employees reportedly upset about Joel Kaplan's choice
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2018 10:37 AM CDT
Facebook's New Headache: Exec at Kavanaugh Hearing
In this Sept. 27 photo, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh arrives to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill. Seated second row, second from left, is Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s vice president for global public policy.   (Win McNamee/Pool Photo via AP)

He sat two rows behind Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during his hearing last Thursday, and hundreds of Facebook employees are reportedly up in arms about the perceived show of support. That's because the man in question is Joel Kaplan, Facebook's Washington, DC-based vice president for global public policy. He's a longtime friend of Kavanaugh's, but the appearance apparently rankled Facebookers, who asked Mark Zuckerberg about Kaplan's choice during his Q&A the next day. The Wall Street Journal reports Zuckerberg said he would have made a different choice, but that no Facebook policies were violated. The New York Times reports Kaplan sent out an internal message Friday that read, "I want to apologize. I recognize this moment is a deeply painful one—internally and externally."

But in the Journal's telling, employees haven't simmered down about it, and Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are planning to discuss it in a Friday meeting. (As Vice puts it, they'll face "hundreds of irate employees.") Facebook had this to say in a statement to CNBC: "Our leadership team recognizes that they've made mistakes handling the events of the last week and we're grateful for all the feedback from our employees." Vice reports Kaplan sat next to his wife and Kavanaugh's family at the hearing; the Times reports he describes Kavanaugh and his wife as his closest friends in DC, and notes the men were in each other's weddings. He says he took a personal day to attend the hearing.

(More Facebook stories.)

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