Palmer Luckey, who sold his VR empire to Facebook, secretly gave gobs of cash to Trump

Source: AP
Source: AP

Palmer Luckey, the millennial Oculus founder turned pro-Trump shitposting king, is making headlines again. Mother Jones just aired Luckey's dirty laundry — and it smells like shell companies, the White House and a covert $100,000 donation.

From Mother Jones:

On Jan. 4, Trump's official inauguration committee received a $100,000 donation from a limited liability company named Wings of Time. The inauguration committee filings list an office tower in Los Angeles as the address for Wings of Time, but there is no individual's name associated with the organization.

The site then traced Wings of Time to Luckey using an alternate address for the company:

California corporation records show a different address in the city of Long Beach for Wings of Time. That address matches the one used by Luckey on various occasions for different business projects.

So apparently the virtual-reality big cheese is also one of the top donors for Trump's inauguration fund. Move over, Peter Thiel.

Who is Palmer Luckey?

Luckey, 24, is a former Silicon Valley tech guru. He sold Oculus, a virtual reality company, to Facebook for $2 billion in 2014. The last time he was in the news was during the 2016 presidential election, when the Daily Beast uncovered his financial support of a political organization called Nimble America. It was dedicated to creating anti-Hillary Clinton memes and GIFs designed to troll liberals online — something netizens call "shitposting."  

Why? "I thought it sounded like a real jolly good time," he said in the article published in September. "It went along the lines of, 'Hey, I have a bunch of money. I would love to see more of this stuff.'"

What else can a bored right-wing software prodigy do with a "bunch of money"? Well...

Palmer Luckey's company doled out a fat wad of cash to Trump's biggest party

The Trump donor is listed as Wings of Time LLC, a company without major resources or any public business operations. Companies like Wings of Time LLC are often used to "disguise business ownership from law enforcement or the public," according to Investopedia. But Wings of Time LLC didn't do a great job of hiding its identity or its owner, as the entity's address, in Long Beach, California, is the same as an address used in one of Luckey's previous businesses.

The Wings of Time LLC registration
Source: 
Mic/California Secretary of State

The video game references all add up

Does the name Wings of Time sound familiar? You probably know it from the '90s Square Enix game Chrono Trigger. In the game, the Wings of Time allow Chrono, the game's protagonist, and his friends to time travel. Luckey's affinity for the game is well-known. Oh, and the corporation listed as the manager of Wings of Time LLC is called Fiendlord's Keep Inc., according to Mother Jones — another Chrono Trigger reference.

Why is Luckey backing Trump in the first place?

The $100,000 dropped into Trump's inauguration fund tells a different story from the one Luckey told back in September. The I-did-it-for-the-lulz motivation he espoused has evolved into an explicit, if covert, endorsement of Trump. In an interview with the Daily Beast in September, he boasted about the noble goal of fighting "the American elite." Now he's handing cash to a billionaire in the White House.

Perhaps Luckey's public disgrace after that Daily Beast story fanned the flames of his disenfranchisement, aligning him with the anarchic, xenophobic, right-wing memelords who made Nimble America a reality. If Luckey were funding Nimble America's "shitposting" only because it made him laugh, he could have quietly backed off after Trump's election.

Palmer Luckey
Source: 
Bryan Steffy/Getty Images

Luckey has enough money to keep controversial movements like Nimble America flush with donations for years. But his sharp fall from upstart tech prodigy with a promising future to plutocratic online troll echoes louder than his footsteps as he left his company's halls.

His recent exit from Facebook (and the company he cofounded) suggests that he now has nothing better to do than to make it rain cash and watch society burn, one meme at a time. Free of PR chains, he's free to fund whatever he wants without worrying about how it'll look in the morning. 

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