Oculus subreddit subscribers are leaving the discussion board after Palmer Luckey was named as a moderator, with many concerned that Luckey’s introduction will introduce a wave of alt-right supporters to the page.
The r/Oculus Reddit page has over 100,000 subscribers, making it the most popular virtual reality subreddits on the site. Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey has an active user of the subreddit since its inception, though he left the VR headset manufacturer’s parent company Facebook in early 2017. Now Oculus’s moderation team have announced that Luckey is the subreddit’s latest mod, with Luckey having personally approached them in order to request that he be given the position.
“It’s hard to find anyone with more experience and insights in the VR industry as well as a deep understanding of where /r/oculus is coming from,” the statement from the r/Oculus mod team reads. “We were always happy to count Palmer as one of our earliest and most active community members. So after a bit of internal debate in the mod team we decided to welcome Palmer to the team.”
While some have praised the decision thanks to Palmer’s prior experience and understanding of the VR industry, others have criticized the decision as a result of his politics and the influence they may have on the subreddit. As noted by user SavingPrincess1, the announcement of Palmer’s appointment as an r/Oculus mod could lead to an influx of far-right users swarming the subreddit, moving the discussion away from virtual reality and onto the divisive politics of the Oculus co-founder.
Quoting a number of responses including “Welcome, Palmer! Down with SJW!” and “Entitled emotional libs are so funny,” SavingPrincess1 wrote: “Any time an alt-right asshat wants to speak up now and spew hate, he will feel empowered, because, after all, the rich guy “on his team” is now a moderator here… the “most important guy in the room” agrees with him…
“This is what bringing Palmer in does. Regardless of your politics, bringing in someone in power that people associate with hatred, will embolden and empower hatred.”
User conmulligan also shared a photo of Palmer posing for a photo alongside former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and Holocaust denier Chuck C. Johnson, writing: “Hey, remember when Palmer Luckey posed for a picture with Sloppy Steve and a holocaust denier? Good times.
“This is incredibly ill-advised and I can’t believe the mods would be so myopic.”
User cunningcory added: “Wow, I hadn’t seen that picture before. At the time of the Palmer controversy with shitposting, Palmer downplayed his politics and tried to claim he wasn’t even a supporter of the Trump movement.
“That picture paints a different story. I don’t believe there’s much of a difference between being a racist and “pretending to be a racist” to piss off liberals and black people. Where are the adults in the room?”
Palmer Luckey confirmed his position as moderator in a comment, writing: “I look forward to serving the community! It has been incredible watching this sub go from a hyper-niche enthusiast hangout to the mainstream. This has been the single largest VR community in the world since near the start, and I think it will stay that way for a long time, even as the eternal September continues.”
(H/T Motherboard / Vice)
Featured Image: Getty Images / GABRIELLE LURIE / Stringer