Google fires employee who wrote anti-diversity ‘manifesto’

August 4, 2017
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Google has fired the senior software engineer behind the 10-page anti-diversity “manifesto” that emerged over the weekend.

The report, written by James Damore, slammed the company’s efforts in creating a diverse work environment. Chief among Damore’s claims were that men are biologically predisposed to working in the tech industry. As you can imagine, Google came down hard on the rogue employee. Bloomberg reports that Damore has confirmed his firing in an email to the publication stating he was fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.”

What a charming man.

Initially, Google rebuffed Damore’s wild claims and beliefs. Its vice president of diversity, Danielle Brown, simply stated Damore’s views are not ones “that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.” She also went on to explain that Google is tolerant of opposing viewpoints, so what changed?

It seems public image is a big enough reason for Google to scrap its tolerance policy. As soon as Damore’s name began circulating on Twitter, pressure mounted on the company and CEO Sundar Pichai felt it was time to act. Publishing a company-wide email titled, “Our words matter”, the email stated that Damore’s words had directly violated Google’s code of conduct, Recode reported.

“The line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace,” Pichai wrote. “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.”

Google has not officially stated that it has fired Damore – although he freely admitted it to Bloomberg. Chances are he was removed shortly after Pichai’s words rolled around the company seeing as Damore was positioned as violating company code of conduct.

Don’t count this as the end of the debacle; as The Verge noted, Damore has become a hero of the alt-right for speaking out against “political correctness”. Let’s just hope he doesn’t inspire more tech bros to crawl out from the woodwork.

You can read the original story on Damore’s manifesto below.

Google anti-diversity ‘manifesto’: How it happened

A ten-page document objecting to Google’s diversity policies was published in full online, somewhat stamping out the company’s efforts to become a completely diverse and welcoming organisation to everyone, despite their sex, orientation, faith, race or any other factor.

Motherboard first reported on the existence of the document last week before Gizmodo released the entire contents of the file, which is reportedly a male Google employee’s thoughts about the tech giant’s policies on recruiting and treatment of female employees.

Titled Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber, the employee claims women are under-represented in the tech industry because they are biologically different to men. He also said we should stop getting hung up on the idea that pay inequality is directly related to sexism and efforts by Google to enrol female members of staff in education programmes are “misguided.”

Image: Neon Tommy, used under Creative Commons

“I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes,” the memo states. “When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem.

“Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance, but unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber.”

Motherboard then received a response from Brown, Google’s vice president of diversity, integrity and governance, who was brought onboard to manage investigations that the company isn’t paying female employees a fair wage.

“Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws,” she said in response to the memo.

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