Twitter’s new virtual reality project manager Gregory Gopman lasted around 48 hours at the company before being shown the door.
It seems Gopman secured his downfall due to an opinionated rant shared on Facebook almost two years ago. The original post, which Gopman has long deleted, saw the then AngelHack CEO describe San Francisco’s Market Street as “overrun by crazy, homeless, drug dealers, dropouts, and trash. He also called the city’s displaced citizens “degenerates” that “gather like hyenas.”
The rant inevitably resurfaced courtesy of TechCrunch. And, sure enough, Twitter gave Gopman the boot. “Anddd I’m fired. Thanks TechCrunch,” he wrote on Facebook. “They wrote a smash piece on me last night and comms didn’t want to deal with it,” he later clarified in a reply to one of the comments on the post.
The company’s knee-jerk reaction has only made matters worse, raising more questions in relation to an embarrassing scenario it would probably much rather forget. For one, did Twitter know of the post when it made the hire? Gopman had extensively written about his changing attitude toward homelessness in a number of Medium blog posts. He even discussed it in a long-form Backchannel article published earlier this year, which came across as an attempt at redemption by SF’s “most reviled tech bro.”
With income inequality reportedly on the rise in San Francisco — the city ranks first in California for economic disparity — Twitter likely wanted to avoid any further controversy that could have stemmed from Gopman’s prior comments.
The company’s prominent hire came after a period of silence regarding its VR ambitions. The last time we heard of any VR rumblings at the social platform was back in June when it recruited ex-Apple designer Alessandro Sabatelli to lead its Twitter Cortex engineering team.