Facebook’s Zuckerberg to discuss exec who attended Kavanaugh sexual assault hearing

While television cameras were trained on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Facebook employees were focused on someone sitting behind him.


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Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg are preparing to address employees’ frustrations that one of their own attended Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing last week in support of the controversial Supreme Court nominee.

Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s vice president for global public policy, made an unexpected appearance in support of Kavanaugh during the hearing to discuss an accusation that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford while the two were in high school. Kaplan sat behind him and in view of television cameras.

Though Kaplan is reportedly close friends with Kavanaugh, his appearance shocked and angered hundreds of the tech firm’s employees, sparking tension within the company, according to reports by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Shortly after the hearing, Facebook employees then took to internal discussion boards to express their concerns about Kaplan’s appearance, igniting an internal debate within the company.

“I want to apologize,” Kaplan wrote in an internal post obtained by the Times. “I recognize this moment is a deeply painful one — internally and externally.”

The employee outrage comes at a tumultuous time for the social media giant, which is still dealing with the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, concerns it’s censoring conservative voices, and its largest security breach, which was announced just last week.

Zuckerberg and Sandberg addressed Kaplan’s appearance last week, according to The New York Times, and are now planning to discuss it again on Friday.

“Our leadership team recognizes that they’ve made mistakes handling the events of the last week and we’re grateful for all the feedback from our employees,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “Sexual assault is an issue society has turned a blind eye to for far too long, compounding every victim’s pain.”

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