Google Reportedly Fires Author Of Anti-Diversity Manifesto

The Google software engineer who authored a 10-page anti-diversity manifesto may be fired, a memo CEO Sundar Pichai sent to employees suggests. Pichai's statement, obtained by Recode, notes that "portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace".

Image: Getty

Pichai's memo continued:

To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK. It is contrary to our basic values and our Code of Conduct, which expects 'each Googler to do their utmost to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination.'

A Google engineer told Gizmodo that employees had reported the author of the manifesto, James Damore, to HR, with at least one complaint citing a "hostile work environment".

Recode, crediting anonymous sources, reported that Google likely plans to fire Damore. In a separate report — citing an email from Damore — Bloomberg says the engineer has already been fired for "perpetuating gender stereotypes". Google did not respond to Gizmodo's multiple requests for comment on the status of Damore's employment.

Damore has worked as a senior software engineer at the Mountain View office since December 2013, according to his LinkedIn. His screed, titled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber", went internally viral, as first reported by Motherboard on Saturday. Gizmodo published the memo in full.

While Google's initial response to the anti-diversity screed was arguably weak, the firing of Damore — if it happens — could signal the company's efforts to take issues of diversity and inclusion more seriously, and with a sense of urgency. The company was recently accused by the US Labour Department of having an "extreme" gender pay gap. In 2013, the company punished one of its engineers for creating more transparency internally around salaries.

WATCH MORE: Tech News


Comments

    Fired: Thus proving his point that open debate is not tolerated at Google.

      Spot on. Have you read what he wrote? Even just the first paragraph pretty much sums up how Googles reaction is proving what you say.

      Without going into a rant that would inevitably be misconstrued, there are more than just sexist reasons that gender gaps exist. Psychology and physiology contribute to the issue. But instead of talking about how those areas are part of it, the politically correct choice is to shut down any discussion at all, and sweep it all under a rug.

      Which is whats happened here.

      The author is right. There ARE reasons beyond basic sexism that contribute to the gender gap. But you cant start a debate on it, in fear of being labelled sexist.

        No.

        Google has said, rightly or wrongly, what is acceptable within their walls and what may happen to you if you go beyond what is acceptable (not much different from dress codes.)

        There are ways to make a point and sending an anonymous memo makes you not a whistle blower but a troublemaker and I'd have sacked him/her on the spot.

      I applaud Google for this. If that guy was working for me I would have fired him too. If you are trying to build a company that is inclusive and fair and have an employees who is actively fighting against these values then they have no place in your organisation, they are bad for moral and teamwork.

        I don't think he was "actively fighting" against their value though. As I read it, he was basically saying those values were a smokescreen, and not looking at the complete picture.

        Read what he wrote. It wasn't what you think it was. Just because people don't want it said doesn't change the issue that gender gaps happen for more than just sexist reasons. Which isn't saying sexism isn't one of those reasons, which is what people seem to think he's saying.

        And until someone starts looking at those other issues, the full problem is never going to be completely addressed. But whenever someone says that, they're tarred and feathered, and run out of town.

          No one is saying that you shouldn't look at other issues (if in fact there are other issues) but that Google has rules. The guy broke them and for that he got fired.

            I expect you haven't read what he wrote, and like most people seem to have done, isolated the issue to a very select part of the screed. Rread the first paragraph.

            I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don't endorse using stereotypes. 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. Despite what the public response seems to have been, I've gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of being fired. This needs to change.

            That's exactly what Googles culture is supposedly about. And he got fired, merely for saying what others are thinking but too scared to say. The followup of this wont stop the inequality from happening, if anything it makes it worse as others will now be too scared to speak up.

            Great work by Google, they've actually put equality back years by sticking their head in the sand. If you cant see how that's happened, you're part of the problem.

              Yes but you need to read on past the smokescreen of the first section.

              The guy is a bit like some drunken guy that runs a red light, runs over some hapless passer-by, and then blames the passer-by for not crossing when it was safe to do so.

                As Eddard Stark once said "everything that comes before the word BUT, is bullshit" Couldn't be more true in this case.

        Some of what he said was bullshit, but he wasn’t being actually vindictive or suggesting that sexism is great or diversity is bad. A large portion of his statement was that decisions or program availability should be made on merit and not to fill quotas for the sake of it, and that people were afraid to disagree from ‘politically/socially correct’ statements like that or policies in fear of being punished. Nothing he said was justifying sexism or racism or whatever - it just didn’t toe the party line that everything in IT is racist, sexist, fascist or whatever.

        And he got fired, because Google can’t have disagreement in its ranks.

          Google is a microcosm and not world in general: being employed by a company is only about toeing the company line (otherwise you're out).

            And that's perfectly fine - just the same as Uber could have chosen to retain a misogynistic CEO if they decided they wanted to keep him employed.

            Doesn't render them immune from outside criticism though.

          What he said was that he thinks a quarter to a third of his coworkers are biologically incapable of doing their jobs. How could Google keep him on? Who could you assign to work with him after that?

            I looked for "incapable" in the post and I couldn't find it - because it was never there. The closest I could come to a statement resembling this was that women "on average" have higher levels of neuroticism and report higher levels of stress at Google, and thus might not seek out high stress leadership positions. I don't necessarily know if this is true (a quick search on pubmed suggests females might indeed report higher levels of neuroticism than males, I have no idea about females reporting more stress at Google) but this does not state that females are incapable of dealing with stress or that they are unsuited or biologically incapable of doing their jobs.

            Happy to be proven wrong where he states that female co-workers are biologically incapable of doing their jobs (and I didn't re-read the entire thing just for this post), but so far at best he could be accused of implying it, and at worst it might be misrepresenting his argument.

            " he thinks a quarter to a third of his coworkers are biologically incapable of doing their jobs."

            I've seen this repeated a few times, but can't find the part of the document where he says that - are you able to quote it?

              Come on now! Can't have the truth getting in the way of virtue signaling outrage.

        Inclusive as long as you share the same opinions. Otherwise you are out. Not very inclusive is it.

          Inclusive as long as you don't do the company or coworkers harm. It would be a bit silly to allow that.

      Offers a bunch of unsourced truisms, that's not really contributing to open debate.

      Again, if you want to state that those differences are true - offer sources.

      He didn't. It's fair enough to call bullshit on it. His 'citations' are just more opinions. No peer-reviewed studies listed, or reviews of the evidence base.

      So yeah, that's not entering into the 'debate' authentically. Just because it's worded unnecessarily long and using a bunch of qualifiers doesn't mean it is necessarily coming from an authentic, flexible place. It might be backed up by personal experiences of those staff wiht the person in question, we may never know.

      Were I his boss, I might have responded "please offer decent, credible sources to back up your position or start packing".

        Wrong he had sources. You must have seen the original document.

    I think if we are honest with ourselves we don't know what's really going on here and we are speculating a bit. As I said before you have to think of your company and the team first and what is best for them and the values you stand for. Even if I think someone is a complete asshole it's not an easy decision to fire them but if I'm having to spend my time an energy fighting an employee who is disrupting the company and moral and making life hard for coworkers you have to do it.

    Stop calling this a "screed", you contemptible jerks. It's pathetic, weak journalism. All you are doing is destroying your own position. By all means, post a reply that actually deals with the arguments, but stop with the immature rhetoric.

    Last edited 08/08/17 3:43 pm

      No need to be rude to convey a point.

        Apparently I do, since Gizmodo has published two articles with this same term in them. It's more reflective of Gizmodo than the document. If they don't have the spine to actually post a reply, leave the thoughtless rhetoric out. That's the last thing we need in "reporting".

      They are reporting on what occurred, not replying to the original author or his points, dummy.

    but we are different, both along race and gender lines. As long as we have a equal chance at whatever we find our calling, diversity issue resolved.

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