Google’s crisis over the anti-diversity memo that started circulating internally last week just got worse on Thursday. Even with the author of the manifesto fired, CEO Sundar Pichai canceled a town hall meeting over online harassment concerns by some employees.
The implications of the memo, titled ‘Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,’ have prompted responses from female leadership at the company, most notably the VP of Diversity Danielle Brown and YouTube’s head Susan Wojcicki.
Googlers, on the other hand, have overwhelmingly expressed their rejection to the ideas exposed in the manifesto, but other dissenting voices have supported James Damore’s perspective on Silicon Valley’s corporate culture.
Doxing and online harassment target PC Googlers
In a memo sent late on Thursday, Sundar Pichai informed all 60,000 employees at the Mountain View campus that they wouldn’t be meeting in the afternoon over some concerns voiced by members of the community.
Concretely, some workers had sent notices in the days prior to the event saying they feared for their online safety, given that some insiders had started leaking personal information to internet hubs that aligned with the views of former software engineer James Damore.
In his 3,000-word memo, Damore claimed that phenomena such as the gender pay gap were not a product of failed diversity policies, but simply a direct consequence of the natural differences between men and women.
Women in the workplace can be overly emotional and might have trouble handling stress, up to the point of being “neurotic” according to the ex-Google employee. Men, on the other hand, are driven by status and success, which helps them climb up the ladder faster than their female counterparts.
Alt-right sites have gladly taken the personal info of some of these employees who are against Damore’s views and published them for everyone to see and use as they wish. Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart posted photos of several pro-diversity Googlers to his Facebook page.
Is NPR implying women disproportionately had an emotional reaction? ? https://t.co/TiPIfP4Tji
— Jeff Giesea (@jeffgiesea) August 8, 2017
Legal trouble might be underway for Google
Meanwhile, the fired author of the so-called anti-diversity manifesto stated to media outlets at the beginning of the week that he would be exploring all legal remedies he could possibly pursue. Expert lawyers have said that, most likely, his allegations won’t stand in court.
On the other hand, the issue at the core of his memo remains a subject of heated debate and action clamoring. A group of more than 60 women is reportedly considering suing Google over gender discrimination, sexism, and the very pay gap they experience when compared to male coworkers in the same roles.
U.S. lawmakers in Congress have also urged Google and the whole tech industry to take a hard look at their diversity and inclusion policies, noting they could do better to bring more women and minority representation into the mix.
Speaking at a Made With Code event specifically targeted at girls, CEO Sundar Pichai told the audience: “I want you to know there’s a place for you in this industry, there’s a place for you at Google. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.” The event happened around the same time the town hall meeting was supposed to.