Google has found itself embroiled in controversy after a sexist memo, claiming that women are less biologically suited to be engineers than men, went viral throughout the company and was later released to the public.
Since then, Google has fired the male engineer who wrote it, the engineer has begun speaking out against his former company, and alt-right supporters have started to protest Google and attack those who supported his firing — even down to Google engineers who may already be facing actual discrimination.
Feb 16, 2018
Google didn’t violate labor laws by firing engineer James Damore for a memo criticizing the company’s diversity program, according to a recently disclosed letter from the US National Labor Relations Board. The lightly redacted statement is written by Jayme Sophir, associate general counsel of the NLRB’s division of advice; it dates to January, but was released yesterday, according to Law.com. Sophir concludes that while some parts of Damore’s memo were legally protected by workplace regulations, “the statements regarding biological differences between the sexes were so harmful, discriminatory, and disruptive as to be unprotected.”Read Article >
Damore filed an NLRB complaint in August of 2017, after being fired for internally circulating a memo opposing Google’s diversity efforts. Sophir recommends dismissing the case; Bloomberg reports that Damore withdrew it in January, and that his lawyer says he’s focusing on a separate lawsuit alleging discrimination against conservative white men at Google. NLRB records state that its case was closed on January 19th.
Jan 19, 2018
Google CEO Sundar Pichai responded today to the firing of employee James Damore over his controversial memo on workplace diversity, stating that while he does not regret the decision, he regrets that people misunderstood it as a politically motivated event. Speaking in a live conversation with journalist and Recode co-founder Kara Swisher, MSNBC host Ari Melber, and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki in San Francisco, Pichai said that the decision to fire Damore was about ensuring women at Google felt like the company was committed to creating a welcoming environment.Read Article >
“I regret that people misunderstand that we may have made this for a political belief one way or another,” Pichai said. “It’s important for the women at Google, and all the people at Google, that we want to make an inclusive environment.” When pressed by Swisher on the issue of regret, Pichai stated more definitively, “I don’t regret it.” Wojcicki, who has spoken publicly about how Damore’s memo affected her personally, followed up with, “I think it was the right decision.”
Jan 12, 2018
David Gudeman, one of two ex-Google engineers suing the company for alleged discrimination against conservative white men, says the company is dominated by a “hate group” illegally promoting “racism and misandry.” Gudeman and his co-plaintiff James Damore filed the lawsuit earlier this week, but he expanded on his motivations in a blog post, illuminating the reasoning behind the suit.Read Article >
“I don’t hate Google, and I certainly don’t hate the people who work there,” writes Gudeman. “I wouldn’t want this suit to give people a bad opinion of Googlers, but, honestly, they brought this on themselves for tolerating the hatred, racism, and misandry of a small but vocal and organized subgroup who want to use Google as a vehicle of social change rather than as a vehicle of delivering excellent service and products to their customers.”
Jan 12, 2018
A memo written by a former Google engineer claims that senior executives at the company intervened to stop employees discussing matters involving diversity and hiring policies.Read Article >
The memo, written in 2016 and shared publicly this week on Google Docs, is the work of former Google security engineer Cory Altheide, according to a report from Gizmodo. Altheide was employed by Google between 2010 and 2016, and says he chose to leave after confrontations with executives and HR over the posting of pro-diversity comments and articles in internal discussion groups.
Jan 8, 2018
The author of the controversial memo that upended Google in August is suing the company, alleging that white, male conservatives are systematically discriminated against by Google.Read Article >
James Damore was fired as an engineer after the manifesto, which questioned the benefits of diversity programs and suggested women may be biologically inferior engineers, was widely passed around the company. In a new lawsuit, he and another fired engineer claim that “employees who expressed views deviating from the majority view at Google on political subjects raised in the workplace and relevant to Google’s employment policies and its business, such as ‘diversity’ hiring policies, ‘bias sensitivity,’ or ‘social justice,’ were/are singled out, mistreated, and systematically punished and terminated from Google, in violation of their legal rights.”
Aug 16, 2017
A nine-city protest against Google for firing engineer James Damore is being called off after last weekend’s white supremacist rally. “March on Google” organizer Jack Posobiec pushed the event back by “a few weeks” this morning, due to what he called “credible alt-left terrorist threats” and “malicious and false statements” connecting the march with far-right politics.Read Article >
The March on Google was announced on August 9th, shortly after Google fired Damore for circulating an anti-diversity treatise. But it’s been derailed by the “Unite the Right” rally that took place just a few days later, where a white supremacist allegedly rammed his car through a crowd of protesters, killing one. Organizers have scrambled to disassociate themselves with the event, explicitly promising that it’s nonviolent and unrelated to the white nationalist “alt-right,” but they’ve had trouble avoiding the connection, since Posobiec himself is a former alt-right supporter known for pushing far-right conspiracy theories like Pizzagate. In turn, the March on Google organizers argue that this association puts them in danger of violent retaliation from the “alt-left,” a term Donald Trump used yesterday to condemn anti-racist counter-protesters.
Aug 11, 2017
Google chief executive officer Sundar Pichai, speaking at a coding event for girls happening at Google’s campus today, emphasized the importance of engineers “building products for everyone in the world,” and said that in order to do that, “we need to have people internally who represent the world in totality.”Read Article >
“I want you to know there’s a place for you in this industry,” Pichai said to the teams of young women who were finalists in a months-long app-building competition. “There’s a place for you at Google. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You belong here, and we need you.”
Aug 10, 2017
A highly-anticipated town hall meeting inside Google was canceled today due to the employees’ concerns around online harassment. The all-hands meeting was intended to address the controversy around an internal memo that argued women were underrepresented in tech due to innate biological differences. “Googlers are writing in, concerned about their safety and worried they may be ‘outed’ publicly for asking a question in the Town Hall,” wrote CEO Sundar Pichai in a letter to employees.Read Article >
The cancellation of the town hall meeting caps off nearly a week of escalating anxiety around the targeted harassment of various Google employees. Very shortly after Motherboard first reported the existence of a controversial memo circulating inside Google, the memo’s author was identified as James Damore. (Damore was fired on Monday). Since then, various corners of the internet have targeted Googlers who have been openly critical of the memo.
Aug 10, 2017
Former Google engineer James Damore, who was fired for distributing a memo suggesting women are not biologically suited for certain types of work, is now branding himself as a brave truth teller. In what appears to be his new Twitter account, Damore can be seen wearing a shirt with the word “Goolag,” a play on “Google” that means to suggest the Silicon Valley search company is something like the infamous Soviet camps where prisoners were worked and starved to death as part of one of the 20th century’s worst genocides.Read Article >
Google, which provides free meals, massages, and fitness classes at its Mountain View, California headquarters, pays engineers like Damore a typical salary of $162,000, according to Glassdoor, not including extra compensation like healthcare benefits, retirement savings, and equity. The company also offers its employees training opportunities, including volunteer sessions on subjects like diversity and unconscious bias.
Aug 10, 2017
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.Read Article >
“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.”
Aug 9, 2017
James Damore, formerly of Google, gave his first interview since the controversy around his internal memo erupted to “men’s rights activist” and alt-right ideologue Stefan Molyneux. In the interview on Tuesday, he said that he had written the memo—which argues that women are underrepresented at Google due to biological differences—after an upsetting experience at a “diversity program at Google.”Read Article >
“It was ... not recorded, totally secretive,” he said. “I heard things that I definitely disagreed with in some of our programs. I had some discussions there. There was lots of just shaming and, 'No, you can't say that, that's sexist,' and, 'You can't do this.' There's just so much hypocrisy in the things they are saying. I decided to create the document to clarify my thoughts."
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has responded to the Google anti-diversity memo, writing in a column for Fortune that the questioning of women’s abilities is “pervasive” in tech and that the memo is “yet another discouraging signal to young women who aspire to study computer science.” Wojcicki opens by saying her daughter asked her, “Is it true that there are biological reasons why there are fewer women in tech and leadership?” Wojcicki says no, it’s not true, but the question has still plagued her throughout her career.Read Article >
“I’ve had meetings with external leaders where they primarily addressed the more junior male colleagues. I’ve had my comments frequently interrupted and my ideas ignored until they were rephrased by men. No matter how often this all happened, it still hurt,” she wrote.
The Google engineer fired over writing a 10-page viral memo about diversity has filed a complaint with federal labor officials, reports Business Insider. James Damore filed the complaint against Google on August 7th, and the case page on the National Labor Relations Board website states that law firm Paul Hastings will represent Google. Damore’s name isn’t listed, but it has been confirmed by Business Insider. The only details available so far about the complaint is the allegation’s classification, which is stated as "Coercive Statements (Threats, Promises of Benefits, etc.)"Read Article >
The manifesto caused a media storm over the weekend, after Damore argued that biological differences between men and women are the cause of the gender gap at Google and the broader tech industry. Damore was fired on Monday — the same day he filed the suit — for “perpetuating gender stereotypes” and violating the company’s code of conduct.
Aug 8, 2017
Google employee James Damore has been reportedly fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” The senior software engineer authored a 10-page “manifesto” condemning Google’s diversity efforts and claiming men are biologically more predisposed to working in the tech industry than women. In an internal memo to Google employees, CEO Sundar Pichai says he has cut his family vacation short to return to work and tackle the issues raised in the manifesto.Read Article >
Arguing that “much of what was in that memo is fair to debate,” Pichai notes that part of the screed crossed the line “by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” Specifically, Pichai says “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.”
Aug 8, 2017
Google has fired a senior software engineer for authoring a 10-page screed condemning the company’s diversity efforts and claiming men are biologically more predisposed to working in the tech industry than women, Bloomberg reports. The engineer, James Damore, confirmed his firing in an email to Bloomberg, saying he was terminated for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.”Read Article >
Damore’s so-called “manifesto,” which went viral internally at Google this past weekend, was first reported by Motherboard, leading to Gizmodo’s publishing of the full text of the document. From there, intense debate ensued surrounding Damore’s viewpoints and the extent to which they undermined Google’s and other tech companies’ continued efforts to increase the representation of women in tech.
Aug 7, 2017
Over the weekend, an anti-diversity manifesto written by a Google employee went viral both within the company and outside of it, drawing harsh criticism from both present and former Googlers. But some agreed with the document, and alongside muted agreement from pockets within the company, the author seems to have found louder supporters in a more familiar place: the online right.Read Article >
The author’s name first surfaced in right-wing blogs early this morning. (The Verge has decided not to publish the employee's name; Recode reported he has been the subject of online threats.) The person identified by those blogs is a Google employee, and sources within the company indicate that his name is included on the circulated manifesto.
Aug 7, 2017
A number of Google employees appear to support an anti-diversity document written by a software engineer, reports Motherboard. The document, titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” was distributed internally, and calls for the company to replace its diversity initiatives with ones that promote “ideological diversity.” In it, the author writes that there are “inherent physiological differences between men and women,” which, he says, is the reason women are underrepresented in tech. The full 10-page manifesto was published by Gizmodo on Saturday.Read Article >
"Honestly, more people have been agreeing with it than I would like," said a current Google employee who spoke to Motherboard on the condition of anonymity. "From what I've seen it's been a mix of women saying, 'This is terrible and it's been distracting me from my work and it shouldn't be allowed;' Men and women saying 'this is horrible but we need to let him have a voice;' and men saying 'This is so brave, I agree,'" the employee said. Those comments were from internal emails sent between Google employees.
Aug 5, 2017
A senior software engineer at Google has written a document titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” which calls for the company to replace its diversity initiatives with ones that promote “ideological diversity,” according to a report from Motherboard.Read Article >
Motherboard says that it has only seen screenshots of the 10-page document, which was shared on an internal e-mail list, but has spoken with several Google employees who have read it. Its author argues that the gender gaps at Google are the result of biological differences between men and women, and that the company shouldn’t offer programs that help under-represented groups. The author also alleged that politically conservative employees are discriminated against, and that achieving ideological equality should be a priority. (Conservative political feelings aren’t a protected class in the eyes of anti-discrimination laws like race, religion, age, sex, citizenship, familial status, or one’s disability, or veteran status are.)