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Former Google employee has 'no regrets' over incendiary memo

Former Google employee has 'no regrets' over incendiary memo


‘It really feels like they’ve betrayed me in some way’

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Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

Former Google engineer James Damore says he has no regrets after circulating a controversial memo he wrote concerning the tech giant’s diversity policies. Damore was fired on Monday after a tumultuous 72-hours that saw his manifesto go viral online, with the document asserting that the gender gap between men and women in technology was due to biological reasons.

“It’s hard to regret it, just because I do believe that I’m trying to make Google and the world in general a better place, by not confining us to our ideological echo chambers where only one side of the story can be heard,” Damore told Bloomberg. “I’m definitely hurt ... It really feels like they’ve betrayed me in some way. The whole point of my memo was to improve Google and Google’s culture, and they just punished me and shamed me for doing it.”

“It’s hard to regret it.”

The memo was published a month ago, but only came to the public’s attention this week. Damore says he’s not sexist or racist, and that he had shared the memo with “many” of Google’s diversity’s programs. Google runs a number of such programs, including resource groups that support minority employees including ones for Hispanics, Asians, LGBTIQ, and women.

Damore says he took in feedback and updated the memo as people gave him input. He claims that the manifesto reflects “the scientific consensus for a lot of these issues,” and says that management took action to fire him only after the document went viral.

Damore has since filed a complaint against Google with federal labor officials, and said he spoke up because he was concerned about how Google hired its candidates. “There were several hiring practices that treated people differently based on what their race and gender are,” he told Bloomberg. “For example, making it easier for someone to get into Google based on what their race or gender is.”

Though Damore says he considers himself more of a centrist, he has given one interview to Stefan Molyneux, a YouTube personality associated with the alt-right; and one to Jordan Peterson, a philosopher whose work is admired by the right. Peterson’s 50-minute interview has since been deleted.

“I’m not saying that all men are different than all women, just that there’s a distribution of these personality traits and that distribution differs between men and women,” Damore told Bloomberg. “There are very many capable women at Google and I’m not trying to say any of them are worse than any average male engineer at Google. There are simply fewer women who want to get into these fields, but if you’re a girl and you’re interested in technology, then that’s great.”

Google is holding a company-wide town hall meeting later today to discuss the memo.

Correction: This story previously overstated Jordan Peterson’s relationship with the alt-right. We apologize for the error.