In Focus: Debate Rages Over Firing of Ex-Googler for Manifesto

There is outrage among some groups—including some Google employees—who agree with the former employee’s description of the company as an “echo chamber” that does not tolerate questioning of the tech giant’s diversity initiatives for women.

By Kathy Gurchiek Aug 11, 2017

The dismissal of a Google employee who wrote a missive some say was an antidiversity message against women in technology has some people outraged—but not on behalf of women. There are those who claim James Damore's firing is proof of the software engineer's claim of "group-think" at the tech giant and its intolerance of an employee viewpoint that questions Google's diversity initiatives. 

Internal Messages Show Some Googlers Supported Fired Engineer's Manifesto

Damore had a fairly easy time finding support from his co-workers for his missive. According to screenshots of discussions on Google's internal message forum, several employees agreed with the 10-page manifesto that cost Damore his job.

While it's hard to know how representative the views expressed are of the company at large, they do illustrate that hostility toward Google's diversity efforts is not an isolated incident. 

Ex-Google Engineer Says Gender Memo Was Out of Love for Company

Damore says problems with the company's culture prompted him to write the much-maligned memo on gender differences that ignited a social media firestorm and led to his dismissal this week.

"A lot of this came from me seeing some of the problems with our culture at Google, where a lot of people who weren't in this group-think just felt totally isolated and alienated," he told YouTube chat-show host Stefan Molyneux in an interview

While his memo has sparked outrage, others—mainly right-wing groups—agreed with his description of a "politically correct monoculture" and viewed Google's decision to fire him for voicing an unpopular opinion as proving exactly Damore's point. 
(Chicago Tribune)   

[SHRM members-only Member2Member Solutions: Your Culture Shapes What Your Business Becomes

Google Recruiters Getting an Earful About That Sexist 'Manifesto' 

It looks like the backlash caused by Damore's memo is starting to hurt the company's chances with prospective employees. People have started to take to Twitter to share responses with Google recruiters in light of the scandal. One prospective job candidate, for example, criticized the company for its "disappointing" response to the memo. 

Anti-Google Ads Appear Outside Google Offices In Response to Controversial Memo

The ads, which were first spotted by some on Twitter, call out Google's response to a memo that went viral this week lambasting the company's efforts to increase the number of women, African-Americans and Hispanics in technical roles. 

In one of the ads, which appeared near Google's offices in Venice, Calif., Google CEO Sundar Pichai is pictured underneath late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Next to Jobs is a picture of the Apple logo with the company's famous slogan "Think Different." Next to Pichai is the Google logo with text that reads "Not So Much."
(USA Today)   

Google Cancels Meeting on Diversity, Citing Safety Concerns for Employees

Google executives were expected to face difficult questions at a companywide meeting scheduled for Aug. 10 from employees upset over Damore's firing. His dismissal has sparked debate within Google and nationwide about the company's diversity program and whether it is intolerant of conservative viewpoints. The firing has also drawn the ire of some far right-wing commentators, who in recent days have harassed online Google employees who publicly supported the firing. Google canceled the meeting just before it was set to begin, citing safety concerns after right-wing commentators published the names of certain employees. It was worried, it said, that those employees could be targeted if the meeting proceeded. 
(Wall Street Journal, registration required)  

Google CEO to Girls: You Belong In This Industry and We Need You 

Google on Thursday abruptly canceled a town hall meeting to address the fallout from an anti-diversity memo from a former employee, but CEO Sundar Pichai made his feelings on the matter known Thursday night at an event honoring girl coders from around the world.

"I want you know that that there's place for you in this industry, there's a place for you at Google. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You belong here and we need you," he told the coding teams who were being honored at an awards ceremony at Google's campus in California.

The 12 finalist teams, all made up of young women who developed apps to solve challenges in their communities, came from Hong Kong, Kazhakstan, Cambodia, India, Armenia, Kenya, Canada and across the United States.
(USA Today)   

Empowering Girls Through Coding: A Q&A with Reshma Saujani  

The founder of the nonprofit Girls Who Code addresses the gender gap in tech—and the importance of raising girls who dare. Computing jobs are the new American dream, and girls are being left behind, says Reshma Saujani. She is the author of Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World (Viking, 2017). Today, there are 500,000 open positions in computing. These are the most highly compensated jobs in the country, paying twice as much as the average role in the private sector, but women are missing out on these opportunities, according to Saujani.
(SHRM Online)   

I'm A Woman in Computer Science. Let Me Ladysplain the Google Memo to You.

Cynthia Lee is a lecturer in computer science at Stanford and has taught at least four different programming languages, including assembly. In an opinion piece, she notes that she has known, worked for, and taught countless men who could have written the now-infamous Google "manifesto" — or who are on some level persuaded by it.

"Given these facts, I'd like to treat it — and them — with some degree of charity and try to explain why it generated so much outrage." 

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