Facebook employees slammed Sheryl Sandberg for justifying company exec's public support for Brett Kavanaugh: 'It just feels gross'

When Facebook's vice president of global public policy, Joel Kaplan, sat behind Brett Kavanaugh during his Senate testimony over allegations that he had sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford, hundreds of Facebook employees complained on the company's internal message board that Kaplan appeared to be taking sides on the issue.

Jezebel reports that CEO Mark Zuckerberg agreed that Kaplan showing up behind Kavanaugh was a bad idea, but didn't violate any of the company's policies. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg also admitted that Kaplan's appearance was a mistake. Kaplan ended up apologizing to company staff said he regretted not consulting with Zuckerberg and Sandberg first.

The following week, Kaplan threw a private party at his home for those who worked on Kavanaugh's nomination. According to report, Kavanaugh and his wife made an appearance at the party. Kaplan also attended Kavanaugh's swearing-in ceremony in 2018.

Responding on the company's message board, Sandberg said Kaplan's presence at the hearings was a mistake because "it unnecessarily injected Facebook into a contentious national debate," but she and Zuckerberg "support his decision to participate."

"For the company, we see a distinction between attending a controversial public hearing about sexual assault on the one hand which we agree was a mistake, on the other hosting a gathering at your home and attending a swearing-in ceremony for a confirmed Justice and close personal friend," she said.

Some Facebook employees responded to Sandberg's message saying that rank and file employees would have been fired for much less.

"Wait, how is attending the hearing a mistake, but attending a public swearing-in ceremony is not? Aren't they both unnecessarily injecting Facebook into a contentious national debate?" one employee wrote.

"I've never read something from leadership that rung so hollow...Why do you draw a false dichotomy between a crushing symbolic moment and supporting a friend?" wrote another. "I've had friends with serious problems and the way I support them is by helping them be a better person - not throwing them a kegger when they make bail."

"I can't help but feel like we are going easy on him because we are excited to have an executive who is best friends with a Supreme Court nominee. It just feels gross," wrote another employee.

Read more comments from Facebook employees over at Jezebel.