Google Cancels Meeting Intended To Address Anti-Diversity Memo

Google was reportedly scheduled to hold a company-wide town hall meeting today to address the controversy surrounding the anti-diversity manifesto that went viral within the company. That meeting has now been cancelled, Recode reports, because employees feared further online harassment after their names and Dory questions were leaked on alt-right sites online.

Image: Getty

Dory is an internal Q&A tool that allows employees to ask questions before meetings, including all-hands meetings and town halls. The system works much like Reddit and allows employees to upvote or downvote other people's questions, which can be submitted either anonymously or non-anonymously.

"So in the coming days we will find several forums to gather and engage with Googlers, where people can feel comfortable to speak freely," Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a message to employees published by Recode today. "We'll share details soon." When we reached out to Google for comment, they directed us to the Recode article.

"I am a moderately conservative Googler, and I am and have been scared to share my beliefs," one question on Dory published by Wired ahead of the meeting read. "The loud voice here is the liberal one. Conservative voices are hushed. What is leadership doing to ensure Googlers like me feel invited and accepted, not just tolerated or safe from angry mobs?"

Google CEO Sundar Pichai was slated to lead the town hall meeting along with other company leadership, Business Insider reported. Pichai was named CEO in 2015. Two years in, how he handles the manifesto and the conservative backlash within the company could be the defining controversy of his tenure.

"I think the town hall wasn't a good idea to begin with, given that the Dory just invited more abuse," a Google employee told Gizmodo under the condition of anonymity. "Some things shouldn't be democratic and leaders need to lead."

The memo's author, James Damore, was fired on Tuesday for violating the company's Code of Conduct as well as "advancing harmful gender stereotypes," according to statement obtained by Recode. On August 7, Damore filed a labour complaint, alleging that Google's parent company Alphabet was "threatening employees".

[Recode]

WATCH MORE: Tech News


Comments

    "Anti diversity"? Hodge podge. Don't be so dishonest.

      Wasn't the whole thing saying that Google's current diversity programs are wrong? I mean what else would you call it but anti-diversity?

        "Program X is going about accomplishing Y the wrong way" does not mean "Y is wrong and should not be attempted"

        "Anti-Diversity" sure feeds the outrage machine better though.

          "Stop restricting programs and classes to certain genders or races."

          So he is saying that programs designed to provide for a more diverse workforce should be stopped. Again, how is that not anti-diversity?

          Where does he suggest ways for google to have a diverse workforce? Where are his suggestions for creating a balanced representation of gender and race?

          If the whole thing is about stopping stuff without starting other, better, programs then I'm sorry but it's just anti-diversity.

          His suggestions are review this, assess that, de-emphasise this, prioritise that. None of his suggestions say "This will lead to a more diverse workforce". That, in my opinion, is anti-diversity.

          He feels bad because he's right wing and the company is left wing. 3000 words about wanting to be able to be more right wing at work.

            Line by line...

            >So he is saying that programs designed to provide for a more diverse workforce should be stopped. Again, how is that not anti-diversity?

            Preventing a group of people [white male men] from learning and advancement opportunities based on their gender and race is discrimination.

            >Where does he suggest ways for google to have a diverse workforce? Where are his suggestions for creating a balanced representation of gender and race?

            He doesn't. Why are those things desirable? Shouldn't private companies recruit based on ability/aptitude/skill?

            >If the whole thing is about stopping stuff without starting other, better, programs then I'm sorry but it's just anti-diversity.

            Stopping discriminatory programs while starting new, equally discriminatory programs does not make sense.

            >His suggestions are review this, assess that, de-emphasise this, prioritise that. None of his suggestions say "This will lead to a more diverse workforce". That, in my opinion, is anti-diversity.

            Diversity can proliferate without being specifically promoted or targeted; recruiting should be based on skill/aptitude/ability and diversity should not come into the equation.

            FWIW, one of the very few life-long friends I have sports a partially shaved hair-do, wears ridiculous clothing and unapologetically speaks her mind about anything and everything. She excels in her professional life not because of these characteristics but because she is excellent at her job; this should be the only criterion.

        Try reading the memo itself. It's not that long and reading it would help you to understand the subject matter.

        @mdolley I dunno why you were downvoted, definitely reasonable question.

        No -- as @falconxev mentioned:

        ""Program X is going about accomplishing Y the wrong way" does not mean "Y is wrong and should not be attempted""

        The author actually explicitly goes out of his way to support diversity, because he recognises that men and women, on average, though they're capable of performing the same tasks, one can often perform to a higher degree of satisfaction with that task.

        He's saying that yes, we need diversity -- but not diversity for diversity's sake.

        Last edited 11/08/17 1:42 pm

    Conservative voices are hushed.

    Since when did it become conservative to "bash" anyone less powerful than one's self? Or is it meant like "my father and his father did... and so I should be allowed as well"?

      One could argue that if they're being hushed and are fearful for their job safety then they're actually the less powerful ones. If they were genuinely more powerful they'd be able to say what they liked with no repercussions.

    The CEO is handling this really badly. Honestly, he comes across as an incompetent clown.

    "Conservative voices are hushed. What is leadership doing to ensure Googlers like me feel invited and accepted, not just tolerated or safe from angry mobs?"

    WTF?
    "Conservative" in this case seems to mean someone who wants to go around saying women are less than equal, homosexual and transgender people are bad etc, and THIS idiot wants to feel accepted and invited so they can feel free to make sure others AREN'T accepted or invited... If they're that stupid just fire them all.

      I'm not sure which 10 page thing you read, but what you claim conservative to be, wasn't anything close to what was it the one that this is about.

        Strongly agreed; the Damore memo claimed none of these things.

        It's not what @ozoneocean claims what "conservative" means, it's that the term has been appropriated by people who seem intent on dividing the world into good (straight rich white men) and bad (women, gays, poor, disabled...) people

      Stop reading sensationalised reports on the content of the memo and go read the actual memo itself.

        I'm not saying that this random anonymous commenter was the writer of that idiotic memo.

        I HAVE read the memo and it was embarrassing, like something that was written in the 90s by a fan of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus", with enough misunderstood science and sophistry to confuse your average moron. I felt bad for the writer.

          The science wasn't misuidunsderstood, though; in fact, EPs with their PhDs (some multiple) have come forward in defense of him (with some minor critique, too):

          http://quillette.com/2017/08/07/google-memo-four-scientists-respond/

            It could rightly be argued that professors/writers need to publish and to publish articles that comment on a particular position without actually stating their position is, in my opinion, intellectual cowardice attempting to profit from another person's misfortune!

            Of course it was misunderstood. There's an old idea that because a person is a scientist that they must be impartial and their words must carry a lot of weight. But the global warming denier scientists have taught us that isn't the case. ;)
            We have scientists and doctors that support anti-Vax. The famous double Nobel Prize winning scientist Linus Pauling is the crazy moron behind the myth that vitamin C cures colds.
            "Argument from Authority" carries little weight, unless it's something the majority of scientists in the field agree with.

              What you mean to say is

              > I didn't read your link that contains the views of people that are not arguing from a position of authority, but from a position that reflects the knowledge of decades of evolutionary psychology

              Gotcha.

              It includes such choice cuts:

              "This essay may not get everything 100% right, but it is certainly not a rant."

              "I think it’s really important to discuss this topic scientifically, keeping an open mind and using informed skepticism when evaluating claims about evidence. In the case of personality traits, evidence that men and women may have different average levels of certain traits is rather strong. For instance, sex differences in negative emotionality are universal across cultures; developmentally emerge across all cultures at exactly the same time; are linked to diagnosed (not just self-reported) mental health issues; appear rooted in sex differences in neurology, gene activation, and hormones; are larger in more gender egalitarian nations; and so forth (for a short review of this evidence, see here.)"

              "For what it’s worth, I think that almost all of the Google memo’s empirical claims are scientifically accurate. Moreover, they are stated quite carefully and dispassionately. Its key claims about sex differences are especially well-supported by large volumes of research across species, cultures, and history."

              Last edited 11/08/17 2:03 pm

              Just for the record there are bugger all scientists and doctors who support Anti-vax. And the few I know of who did have all been discredited for basically taking bribes to support the stance. Even to the point of having their medical licenses revoked.

              As for Pauling there is *still* some debate about the vitamin C issue. And he's not crazy, he had a theory and did studies that backed it up. Those studies may have been flawed, but the studies done by the Mayo clinic to "disprove" it were also flawed since they didn't actually follow the same protocols as Paulings.

              Anyway, neither these nor, global warming deniers are the scientists who'd be commenting on his diversity comments so what does it matter?

          Yes I get so embarrassed when people say idiotic things like, "men are, on average, physically larger than women."

          What kind of moron would be idiotic enough to believe there is any deviance between male and female biology?

            The same kind of moron that 65 years ago said that women couldn't be doctors!

              You're totally right. The majority of women I know are exactly the same height as me... and have penises :-)

              Last edited 11/08/17 6:48 pm

            His document is full of "women on average".

            Which seems to miss the point that there are remarkable women who aren't average. Maybe seek them out. Get their unique perspective on things.

              Yes he does say men and women on average... Because members of each gender average towards certain traits.

              He also goes to great pains to point out that we shouldn't restrict our views to the averages and acknowledge the overlaps and exceptions.

              And it should be pointed out that accounting for averages in population doesn't discount people above or below average. If anything it distinguishes them...

          Some of what he said was a bit silly. A lot of it however wasn’t, and wasn’t any sort of call against diversity. Some of it is backed by social science.

          You can disagree with it, but misrepresenting the argument is just as bad as blindly accepting it.

    I'm completely flabbergasted as to how two groups of people can read the one thing and come to two VERY different interpretations of it.
    Almost every argument on this story I read in different comment sections online comes from at least one group misinterpreting what has been said.

      You shouldn't be surprised, there are always three sides to a story: yours, mine and the truth. Our opinions are always biased to some extent, it's incredibly hard not to be. It's a question of realizing that and trying to view something without letting your bias be the main influence on your opinion.

      Talk about triggering. People with strong past experience can't help but shade everything they see in one color and unable to acknowledge that their experience is one of many, not absolute.

      I suspect at least one group hasn't read the document and is leaving their interpretations up to the "pros". ;)

    The system works much like Reddit and allows employees to upvote or downvote other people's questions, which can be submitted either anonymously or non-anonymously.

    Oh so it even more reinforces groupthink

    Last edited 11/08/17 3:58 pm

    The irony of being sacked for having a diverse opinion is lost on a lot of people.

    As is the irony of defining diversity to have a very narrow meaning.

      It all started when they convinced themselves they could define sexist in a way which is sexist :)

    Shouldn't Google's super-competent diversity-hired legal team have seen this coming? :)

      Unfortunately, they were hired for their diversity, not for their competence.

    What stereo types was he advancing that where harmful?
    or did i miss the part where he said Asians cant drive?

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