Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley billionaire investor and PayPal founder, is a welcomed member of Facebook’s board of directors, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The news comes after Thiel donated $1.25 million to Republican candidate Donald Trump’s campaign. That contribution makes Thiel one of the campaign’s largest donors.
“We can’t create a culture that says it cares about diversity and then excludes almost half the country because they back a political candidates,” Zuckerberg wrote in the post.
Here’s the full post from Zuckerberg:
I want to quickly address the questions and concerns about Peter Thiel as a board member and Trump supporter.
We care deeply about diversity. That’s easy to say when it means standing up for ideas you agree with. It’s a lot harder when it means standing up for the rights of people with different viewpoints to say what they care about. That’s even more important.
We can’t create a culture that says it cares about diversity and then excludes almost half the country because the back a political candidate. There are many reasons a person might support Trump that do not involve racism, sexism, xenophobia or accepting sexual assault. It may be because they believe strongly in smaller government, a different tax policy, health care system, religious issues, gun rights or any other issue where he disagrees with Hillary.
I know there are strong views on the election this year both in the US and around the world. We see them play out on Facebook every day. Our community will be stronger for all our differences — not only in areas like race and gender, but also in areas like political ideology and religion.
That’s ultimately what Facebook is about: giving everyone the power to share our experiences, so we can understand each other a bit better and connect us a little closer together.
Zuckerberg’s response echoes that of Sam Altman, head of startup accelerator Y Combinator where Thiel is a partner. Altman tweeted his thoughts Sunday shortly after news broke of the donation.
3) Thiel is a high profile supporter of Trump. I disagree with this. YC is not going to fire someone for supporting a major party nominee.
— Sam Altman (@sama) October 17, 2016
This isn’t the first time Thiel’s position on Facebook’s board has been questioned. After it was revealed that Thiel bankrolled Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against media company Gawker, critiques questioned Facebook’s position as an unbiased distributor of news.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told Recode Thiel would remain on the board since he was acting independently.