SAN FRANCISCO — Peter Thiel made a relatively modest investment in the presidential candidacy of Donald J. Trump, but it is generating a major uproar in Silicon Valley.
Mr. Trump is toxic among technology investors and entrepreneurs. The news last weekend that Mr. Thiel was giving $1.25 million to the Republican's campaign is provoking outrage. And tech executives who work with the billionaire investor are being forced to explain why they plan to continue to do business with him.
Now Mr. Thiel will defend himself. A spokesman said Wednesday evening that he would address the controversy in a speech in Washington later this month. He declined to comment further.
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Mr. Thiel was the first outside investor in Facebook and sits on its board. That has put the social media giant in the cross hairs of this debate. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, warned that cutting ties with Mr. Thiel because of his political views would be a troubling precedent.
"We care deeply about diversity," Mr. Zuckerberg wrote in an internal Facebook post to employees. "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."
An image of Mr. Zuckerberg's message to employees was posted on Tuesday to the website Hacker News, an online forum popular in technologist circles. Facebook confirmed the veracity of the photo and the post but had no further comment.
Mr. Thiel spoke at the Republican convention in July, where he said Mr. Trump "is a builder, and it's time to rebuild America." That support incited some grumbling. But the complaints are louder this time, no doubt because the episode comes after the lewd "Access Hollywood" recording of Mr. Trump. Silicon Valley has been criticized in the last few years for its marginalization of women and lack of diversity.