Saturday, 19 August, 2017

Google 'Almost Like a Cult', Says Engineer Fired Over Diversity Memo

Sundar Pichai Google CEO Sundar Pichai Google CEO
Heather Davidson | 14 August, 2017, 01:22

The op-ed comes a day after Google CEO Sundar Pichai was supposed to hash it all out in an all-hands meeting with the company's more than 60,000 employees. Other men working in tech, it seemed, felt the same way he did. Startup investor Alex Rubalcava‏ spotted the banners earlier today: "Someone is in Venice is not happy about Google's firing of that memo guy". Pichai's email was sent about an hour before the event was to start Thursday afternoon. The engineer, James Damore, was fired, according to Bloomberg, which cited an email from him.

Damore disagrees with how the company reacted to his post, claiming that he only meant to say men and women differ due to biological reasons and that is why there are not so many female representatives in leadership positions and in the tech industry. Damore has filed a complaint with the US Labour Relations Board.

Google's liberal stance toward self-expression, enabled by those online forums, was created in part to show that it is not bound by the conventions that stifle more stodgy companies.

Damore concludes that "the viewpoint I was putting forward is generally suppressed at Google" but it was because of the "giant media controversy" that he was let go. But Damore isn't qualified to discuss them in a scientific context. "What can we do to combat that perception?"

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Damore is now on tour of mostly conservative media outlets.

"We are going to raise awareness about Google's one-sided bias and campaign against dissenting opinions and voices", activist and protest march organizer Jack Posobiec, a self-identified member of the "new right" that seeks to distance itself from the white-power politics of the alt-right, told this news organization via Twitter. "What is leadership doing to ensure Googlers like me feel invited and accepted, not just tolerated or safe from angry mobs?" Someone with access to an employee-only version of Google Plus made screenshots of messages written by Google employees pledging to create blacklists of colleagues not supportive of the company's diversity measures.

One of the world's leading philosophers, Peter Singer, believes that Google was wrong in firing Damore.

Among those who denounced Damore's views on female workers was former Google vice president-turned-Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who stated on Facebook that inequality in technology did not stem from gender differences. The graphic drew hundreds of comments critical of Google and those employees.

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