Google Gender Discrimination Scandal Shocks the World

A woman attempts to use a laptop
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Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy  Getty Images Contributor
A woman attempts to use a laptop Credit Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy Getty Images Contributor
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13 August, 2017

James Damore, the Google engineer fired after writing a controversial 3,300-word memo on diversity, is questioning why Google pushed him out when it did. "We should recognize that some women are different than men in these ways", Damore said.

Memegen, an internal forum that uses images overlaid with amusing captions, was filled with irreverent posts that openly mocked how an email discussing the memo from Sundar Pichai, Google's chief executive, had leaked to the media so quickly. Damore, who has since been fired, has also said that he was considering suing Google.

Sundar Pichai, the company's chief executive officer stated that the letter went against some of Google's code of conduct of conduct.

Can we talk about the story of whether Google, a company entrusted with everyone else's personal secrets, should let its own employees' confidential data be thrown open to the scrutiny of a vengeful world in the course of trying to show that its workplace is not rife with discrimination?

My objective here instead is to relate another Google bias-claims-and-employee-privacy story from last month, which would have counted as fairly significant news in its own right had it not soon been eclipsed by the memo episode.

Pichai canceled the meeting, though, after some employees expressed concerns about being harassed online. A number of Google employees who had been outspoken on the matter started facing harassment on the internet. "Looking at who works for Google, it all makes sense now..." the caption read.

In late June, Google announced the hiring of Danielle Brown as its new head of diversity. In addition to the WSJ, he has given interviews to Bloomberg, spoken at length with two YouTube personalities popular with alt-right and right-wing audiences, Stefan Molyneux and Jordan B. Peterson, and he did a photoshoot with alt-right photographer Peter Duke. Damore added that his firing "neatly confirms that point".

Damore claimed in a complaint filed on Monday to the National Labor Relations Board that he had been subject to "coercive statements" at Google. James Finberg, the civil rights attorney working on the potential lawsuit on behalf of Google's female employees, told the Guardian that female staff at the tech giant have earned less than men, despite being equally qualified. Hundreds of millions of people rely on Google and its products, if not a billion or more, all of which have to do with communications and social interaction.

A Google representative did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. Can we trust a company that expels Damore for offering a challenge to internal orthodoxy to handle external user heterodoxy fairly and equitably? The loud voice here is the liberal one.


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