Google Cancels Employee Meeting Over Damore's Anti-diversity Memo

Posted August 12, 2017

CEO Google Sundar Pichai said this during a girls" coding event just after Google cancelled a company-wide town hall meeting which had been scheduled to address the anti-diversity memo that claimed "biological differences' between men and women were responsible for gender gaps at the organisation.The memo had stirred a controversy both inside and outside Google.

In late June, Google announced the hiring of Danielle Brown as its new head of diversity.

James Damore, an engineer at Google, was sacked on Monday after his 3,000-word essay, which argued that biological differences were responsible for gender disparity, provoked heated discussion.

The questions that were planned by "Googlers" appeared externally this afternoon and some employees are being named on "some websites", CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email sent to employees.

"To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK", Pichai said in his email to employees.

Damore characterizes himself as a classical liberal who strongly values individualism and reason.

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.

As Business Insider notes, the town hall meeting was supposed to be held on Thursday, 4 p.m. PT. Apparently, the names of employees were getting published and the questions got leaked.

"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.

Milo Yiannopoulos, an alt-right commentator, posted images on Facebook on Wednesday taken from social media profiles of several people who identified as working for Google. Critics of Damore's firing are planning to protest outside Google offices in five US cities.

Damore claimed in a complaint filed on Monday to the National Labor Relations Board that he had been subject to "coercive statements" at Google.

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment further.

Inside Google, the memo and its fallout represent perhaps the biggest setback to what has been a foundational premise for employees: the freedom to speak up about anything and everything.

Another echoed Damore's criticisms: "I am a moderately conservative Googler, and I am and have been scared to share my beliefs". According to ZeroHedge, one popular question was how the company plans to protect female employees who face online harassment for criticizing the memo, while another seeks to learn if Google lowers the bar for diverse candidates.