Facebook board member Peter Thiel reportedly had dinner with a key white nationalist figure in 2016 and said he ‘really enjoyed’ meeting him

peter thiel
  • Facebook board member Peter Thiel met with a prominent white nationalist figure in 2016, according to emails published by BuzzFeed News this week.
  • After meeting with Kevin DeAnna — who has called for "the formation of an ethnostate, the great dream of the White Republic" — Thiel reportedly wrote in an email that he "really enjoyed" meeting him.
  • Thiel was one of Facebook's earliest investors, and Zuckerberg has defended him in the past. He's also a board member of Palantir, the $10.5 billion software company preparing to go public.
  • The revelation is likely to contribute to internal tensions at Facebook, where multiple employees have resigned in protest in recent months over hate speech on the platform.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

In July, 2016, Facebook board member Peter Thiel met with a white nationalist figure who has advocated for the formation of a white ethnostate, according to newly surfaced emails published by BuzzFeed News this week.

A few months later, when Thiel came out in support of Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, some of Facebook's staff raised concerns about the move — but CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended Thiel at the time.

"There are many reasons a person might support Trump that do not involve racism, sexism, xenophobia, or accepting sexual assault," Zuckerberg told Facebook employees in an Oct. 2016 post.

Thiel, a famously outspoken Libertarian, was among Facebook's earliest investors and now sits on its board. He's also one of the most influential venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, and the founder and a board member of Palantir the $10.5 billion software company that has scored millions of dollars with of contracts with the Trump administration and is currently preparing to go public.

That July dinner was reportedly with Kevin DeAnna, an influential white nationalist blogger whose writing served as a blueprint for the contemporary alt-right movement, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. DeAnna has written for white supremacist blogs including Richard Spencer's Radix Journal, and in 2013 called "the formation of an ethnostate ... the great dream of the White Republic."

After the dinner, Thiel wrote in an email that he "really enjoyed meeting" with DeAnna and said they should meet again, BuzzFeed News reported.

Representatives for both Facebook and Palantir did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider. Both companies declined BuzzFeed's requests for comment on Thiel's meeting with the white nationalist figure. 

The revelation of Thiel's meeting is likely to contribute to internal tensions at Facebook, where employees are increasingly critical of the company's approach to moderating extremist and hateful content. Several Facebook employees quit in recent months, protesting the company's refusal to remove a Trump post that calls for looters to be shot and the spread of right-wing militia groups on the platform.

But Thiel's support for Trump appears to have cooled since 2016. The Daily Beast reported in May that Thiel was disappointed with Trump's response to COVID-19, and that Trump hadn't shaken up the federal government in the ways Thiel had hoped.

In the past year, Thiel hasn't donated to Trump's campaign, nor has he made public statements or written op-eds in support of Trump — all of which he did for Trump's 2016 election bid.

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