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Developers Ditch Oculus Over Luckey's Pro-Trump Memes (Updated)

UPDATE 11:31 p.m. ET: We've updated this story with a statement from Palmer Luckey, after updating the story earlier with more comments from developers.

Palmer Luckey, the 24-year old founder of VR company Oculus, has been secretly financing an unofficial, Pro-Donald Trump group dedicated to posting memes and putting together viral stunts in an attempt to disparage Hillary Clinton.

Small developers have taken notice of the news, originally reported by The Daily Beast, and are threatening to remove Oculus Rift support from their VR games if Luckey doesn't step down.

Palmer Luckey. Credit: Bryan Steffy/Getty Images

(Image credit: Palmer Luckey. Credit: Bryan Steffy/Getty Images)

Luckey, who sold Oculus to Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion, put money behind Nimble America, a 501(c)4, and went by the Reddit handle NimbleRichMan until it was deleted late last night. In a Reddit post on r/The_Donald (a pro-Trump subreddit with a rule banning "Dissenters or S[ocial Justice Warriors]," the organization said that "we’ve proven that sh*tposting is powerful and meme magic is real."

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The organization's best-known stunt was a viral billboard posted near Pittsburgh with a distorted image of Clinton and the caption "Too Big to Jail."


Luckey confirmed his involvement as the man behind the group's bank account. "I’ve got plenty of money," Luckey told The Daily Beast. “Money is not my issue. I thought it sounded like a real jolly good time.”

Luckey said he spoke with a number of pro-Trump supporters behind the group on Facebook and met Breitbart tech editor and alt-right internet figurehead Milo Yiannopoulos. Yiannopulos was recently in the news for being banned from Twitter following harassment of Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones.

On social media, indie developers are denouncing Luckey and his involvement, with some threatening to drop Oculus Rift support from games until Luckey steps down or is removed from his job.

Polytron, the makers of the hit indie game Fez, put out a statement on Pastebin and on Twitter that it won't support the Oculus Rift with its new game, SuperHyperCube due to Luckey's funding the pro-Trump group.

"In a political climate as fragile and horrifying as this one, we cannot tacitly endorse these actions by supporting Luckey or his platform," the team wrote.

"Hey @oculus, @PalmerLuckey's actions are unacceptable. NewtonVR will not be supporting the Oculus Touch as long as he is employed there," developer Tomorrow Today Labs wrote on Twitter. NewtonVR is a free physics-based tool for VR developers, and Oculus Touch is the VR company's upcoming controllers to support its Rift headset.

Developer Scruta Games also voiced discontent on Twitter: "Until @PalmerLuckey steps down from his position at @oculus, we will be cancelling Oculus support for our games."

Late Friday night, Luckey released a statement on Facebook:

"I am deeply sorry that my actions are negatively impacting the perception of Oculus and its partners," he wrote. "The recent news stories about me do not accurately represent my views."

He claimed to have contributed $10,000 to Nimble America, which he said he wrote "had fresh ideas on how to communicate with young voters through the use of several billboards." He also wrote he claims to vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson in the general election this November.

Luckey also claims that that contrary to The Daily Beast's original report, he did not write the NimbleRichMan Reddit posts and was also not behind their deletion.

Be sure to check out the full story on The Daily Beast, which discusses Nimble America's spending, how the r/The_Donald subreddit reacted negatively to Nimble America, and posts about the organization being deleted from Reddit.