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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Facebook policy executive Joel Kaplan's attendance at Brett Kavanaugh's testimony last week sparked a firestorm inside the company, Mike Isaac reports in the New York Times.

Our thought bubble: The reaction is another example of the kind of turmoil Silicon Valley companies face when leaders make choices that clash with values held by many in their workforce.

Kaplan and Kavanaugh are close friends, having served in the George W. Bush administration together. Kaplan's wife, Laura Cox Kaplan, has also been a vocal supporter of the Supreme Court nominee since allegations emerged that he committed sexual misconduct in high school and college.

  • Kaplan, who is Facebook's vice president of global public policy, has reportedly apologized for his appearance at the hearing. The company has said he was there on personal time.

Now, Facebook employees are putting pressure on the company's leadership over Kaplan's decision.

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees he wouldn't have attended, if he had been in Kaplan's shoes, per the Times and a Wall Street Journal report.
  • Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said that she "talked to Joel about why I think it was a mistake for him to attend given his role in the company," per both papers.

What they're saying:

"Sexual assault is an issue society has turned a blind eye to for far too long — compounding every victim's pain. Our leadership team recognizes that they've made mistakes handling the events of the last week and we're grateful for all the feedback from our employees."
— Facebook spokesperson

The bottom line: "Even at Facebook, people seem more riled up about the Kavanaugh hearings than the giant Facebook hack," noted Wired editor Nicholas Thompson on Twitter.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the correct author's byline.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - World

Courage vs. coddling with China

Peng Shuai of China serves during the China Open in Beijing in 2017. Photo: Andy Wong/AP

The women's professional tennis tour suspended tournaments in China Wednesday out of concern for Peng Shuai, on the same day that a top business voice made excuses for Beijing.

Why it matters: Ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Beijing, some sports figures are taking on the regime — while Big Business shrinks from confrontation with the world's second-largest economy.

3 hours ago - Sports

What to know about the first MLB lockout since 1995

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Hope you enjoyed the recent flurry of free-agent activity, because it's likely the last non-lockout-related MLB news for a while.

Driving the news: The owners locked out the players after the collective bargaining agreement expired at midnight last night, leading to MLB's ninth work stoppage — and first since 1995.

Biden extends mask mandates for travelers into 2022

President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Dec. 1. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

President Biden will announce new testing protocols for international travelers on Thursday and extend masking requirements through March as the U.S. prepares to fight the Omicron variant this winter, according to senior administration officials.

Driving the news: The U.S. will tighten pre-departure testing protocols starting early next week by requiring all inbound international travelers to take COVID-19 tests within one day of their departure rather than three.