The timing of the announcement of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million donation to Newark public schools struck some as suspicious, given that a hugely publicized, Oscar-baiting movie that some have argued features an unflattering depiction of Zuckerberg is hitting theaters next week. But according to an unnamed source close to the man himself, the timing is purely coincidental. In fact, Zuckerberg allegedly didn’t even want the announcement, which will be made Friday on Oprah, to fall so close to The Social Network’s release.
“According to a source very close to the situation, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie were the ones who chose the timing, in order to synch up the announcement with other events which were important to the potential revival of Newark schools. Zuckerberg, this source says, wanted very much to delay the announcement but ultimately conceded, pressured by Booker and Christie, thinking he might potentially help Newark’s schools more than if he waited.”
Besides, Daily Beast columnist David Kirkpatrick points out, why would Zuckerberg want the announcement to come right before the movie’s release, since it would be “so overt in attempting to alter perception” that it “would be craven and obvious”? But then again, Kirkpatrick notes, he also could have just made the donation anonymously and avoided these rumblings altogether. To borrow Zuckerberg’s lingo, it seems that in terms of the motives and timing here, “It’s complicated.”