When Facebook hired Joel Kaplan to serve as Vice President for US Public Policy, who could have predicted that he would turn out to be a far-right partisan who would embarrass the company by throwing a victory bash for a serial rapist on the occasion of his being handed a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court?
After all, Kaplan's previous career — serving as Deputy Chief of Staff in the George W Bush White House — abetted an endless war (a war that's now older than some of the soldiers dying in it), cruel cuts to social services, funding religious cults to replace social programs, doubling down on mass incarceration, so much torture, even more mass surveillance, and innumerable other sins that can be loosely sorted into two piles, one labeled "war crimes" and the other, "crimes against humanity." But not appointing actual rapists to the Supreme Court, after all.
Kaplan was a vocal supporter of Kavanaugh throughout the confirmation process (they both served in the Bush White House and might have enjoyed a beer or two hundred during their joint tenure); he prominently situated himself behind the judge during the hearings, as if to ensure that Facebook's officials were publicly seen to be supporting the rapist's bid for the highest judicial office in the land. After all, as Kaplan told his reports at Facebook, "I have known Brett and Ashley Kavanaugh for 20 years. They are my and my wife Laura's closest friends in D.C. I was in their wedding; he was in ours. Our kids have grown up together."
(Kaplan's appearance at the hearings was originally billed to Facebook; after an internal outcry he marked the day as a "personal day" in the company's HR system)
But Kaplan's support didn't end with the confirmation itself! After the gavel came down, Kaplan used his Facebook earnings to throw a party for Justice Kavanaugh at his home.
Facebook Consumer Hardware VP Andrew Bosworth chided the women employees of Facebook who objected to Kaplan's pro-rape stance, patting them on the heads and telling them to tend to their knitting: "it is your responsibility to choose a path, not that of the company you work for."
Technical talent is the scarcest resource in every industry today: Facebook's engineers can walk out of the door today and walk into a job at another company tomorrow. In a world where tech talent is the major constraint on growth, every engineer who shows up for work at Facebook is abetting this corporate behavior.
Lean the fuck in, Facebookers.
"Let's assume for a minute that our VP of Policy understands how senate hearings work," one program manager said in a post about Mr. Kaplan that was reviewed by The Times. "His seat choice was intentional, knowing full well that journalists would identify every public figure appearing behind Kavanaugh. He knew that this would cause outrage internally, but he knew that he couldn't get fired for it. This was a protest against our culture, and a slap in the face to his fellow employees."
"Yes, Joel, we see you," the employee added.
… "I appreciate your desire to avoid taking sides, but please don't insult our intelligence by declaring that this act did not violate our policies, or that it was only an honest lapse in judgement," one engineer wrote in a post addressed to the chief executive.
Rifts Break Open at Facebook Over Kavanaugh Hearing [Mike Isaac/New York Times]