Why was Facebook's Joel Kaplan sitting right behind Brett Kavanaugh during bizarre Senate hearings?

During the Senate hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump's supreme court nominee, a number of observers on Twitter noticed a weird detail.

Why was Joel Kaplan, an executive from Facebook's Washington, D.C. office and de facto lobbying and government affairs headquarters, sitting right behind Brett Kavanaugh during the bizarre Senate hearing?

Mr. Kaplan is a close friend of Kavanaugh.

But why was he there?

Does Facebook support Brett Kavanaugh and Donald Trump?


"Hundreds of Facebook employees have expressed outrage about a top global policy executive's decision to support Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by appearing at his hearing last week," reads a Wall Street Journal article today.

The WSJ says Facebook is "planning to hold a town hall meeting with senior executives, including Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg," basically to get beat up by employees over the matter on Friday. I hope the staff of Facebook give them hell.


Employees raised the question directly to Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg as part of his weekly question-and-answer session last Friday, the people said. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg also weighed in on the controversy in an internal discussion thread that has so far drawn hundreds of comments.

Mr. Zuckerberg said Friday that he wouldn't have made the same decision but the appearance didn't violate Facebook policies.

Employees began expressing anger, confusion and frustration after an image of Joel Kaplan, Facebook's head of global policy, surfaced in the middle of Judge Kavanaugh's lengthy hearing last Thursday. Over the last week, the topic has drawn hundreds of comments in internal threads, the people familiar with the discussion said.

"I've talked to Joel about why I think it was a mistake for him to attend given his role in the company," Ms. Sandberg wrote, according to a copy of the post reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. "We support people's right to do what they want in their personal time but this was by no means a straight-forward case."

Zuckerberg Seeks to Quell Employee Anger Over Facebook Executive's Appearance at Kavanaugh Hearing

[ Glitch illustration: Joel Kaplan, vice president of global public policy at Facebook Inc., and Mark Zuckerberg, the company's founder, in Paris earlier this year. Original photo: CHRISTOPHE MORIN/BLOOMBERG NEWS]