Facebook employees are reportedly outraged at exec appearing at Kavanaugh hearing

  • Many Facebook employees are outraged at senior executive Joel Kaplan for attending Judge Brett Kavanaugh's congressional hearing in an apparent show of support for the Supreme Court nominee.
  • Kaplan, head of global policy at Facebook and a long time friend of Judge Kavanaugh, sat two rows behind the nominee as he testified on sexual assault allegations.
  • CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg have responded to employees' concerns.
Brett Kavanaugh speaks at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Michael Reynolds | Pool | Getty Images
Brett Kavanaugh speaks at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Hundreds of Facebook employees have voiced outrage at senior executive Joel Kaplan for attending Judge Brett Kavanaugh's congressional hearing in an apparent show of support for the Supreme Court nominee, according to reports by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Kaplan, head of global policy at Facebook and a long time friend of Judge Kavanaugh, sat two rows behind the nominee as he testified regarding allegations that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford while in high school.

Following the appearance, many employees felt that Kaplan's presence at the hearing signaled that Facebook as a company had endorsed Judge Kavanaugh. They expressed their discontent in internal company message boards, as well as directly to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg said at a staff meeting that Kaplan did not violate any company rules and that he trusted his judgment. On the other hand, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg wrote in an internal message to employees that she thought "it was a mistake for him to attend given his role in the company."

Kaplan apologized in a note to staff, but also added later, "I believe in standing by your friends, especially when times are tough for them."

A meeting has been scheduled for Friday to further discuss employees' concerns. Zuckerberg, Sandberg, and Kaplan are expected to attend and answer questions.