Facebook could be seeing some internal unrest following the firm’s decision to sponsor an event featuring Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Business Insider reports that tech giant Facebook is sponsoring an event that features Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as a speaker, a risky move that could see internal unrest at the firm and has already sparked employee protests. It was recently reported by the political newsletter Popular Information that Facebook will be a “gold sponsor” for a convention by the conservative law group the Federalist Society, at which Kavanaugh is speaking.
Kavanaugh faced allegations of sexual misconduct after being nominated to the Supreme Court by President Trump. Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s VP of global public policy, received criticism within the firm after he appeared in the audience at the hearing in support of Kavanaugh whom he had been friends with when they both worked at the White House during the George W. Bush administration.
At the time, many employees were angered by Kaplan’s appearance calling it “inappropriate.” One employee reportedly stated: “I might feel uncomfortable sharing the workplace with this person now.” Facebook stated that its sponsorship of the Federalist Society event is part of its efforts to support groups across the political spectrum and has supported the group since 2013.
The left-wing group Demand Justice has reportedly been targeting Facebook employees via ads on LinkedIn alerting them to Facebook’s support of the event. One ad reads: “The Federalist Society is Honoring Him. Why is Facebook Paying for it?” alongside pictures of Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who accused the judge of sexual misconduct.
Demand Justice senior counsel Katie O’Connor told Business Insider:
Facebook should not be sponsoring the rehabbing of Brett Kavanaugh’s reputation when Dr. Blasey Ford remains unable to resume a normal life after bravely coming forward last year. You can claim to respect survivors of sexual assault or you can pay for a celebration of Brett Kavanaugh, but you can’t do both. Any organization that doesn’t want to be complicit in normalizing Kavanaugh should withdraw its support from The Federalist Society and pledge not to give in the future.
Facebook said in a statement:
This reporting purposely focuses on Facebook’s support for one organization to distract from our lengthy track record of supporting groups from across the political spectrum.
The firm added that Kaplan will not be attending the event.