Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg are preparing to address employee 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 took to internal discussion boards to express their concerns about Kaplan’s appearance, igniting a debate within the company.
“I have known Brett and Ashley Kavanaugh for 20 years. They are my and my wife Laura’s closest friends in D.C.,” Kaplan wrote in a note to his group, according to the Times.
“I believe in standing by your friends, especially when times are tough for them,” Kaplan wrote in a subsequent internal message. He also apologized for his appearance at the hearing, according to the Times,
The employee outrage comes at a tumultuous time for the social media giant, which is still dealing with the fallout from the, concerns it’s , and , 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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