Fired Google engineer James Damore is suing the company for prejudice against white male conservatives
In the latest debacle between Google and fired engineer James Damore, Damore has launched a class action lawsuit against the company and the way conservatives are “ostracised, belittled and punished.”
The suit claims that a number of Google managers kept blacklists of employees that they would refuse to work with, bans a number of prominent conservatives from the Google campus and (of course) that his firing was discrimnatory.
The document backs up claims of censorship with various screenshots including a manager writing: “There are certain ‘alternative views, including different political views’ which I do not want people to feel safe to share here … You can believe that women or minorities are unqualified all you like … but if you say it out loud, then you deserve what’s coming to you.”
Elsewhere, the lawsuit claims that prominent conservatives including Curtis Yarvin, Theodore Beale and Alex Jones are banned from the Google campus. Although given the latter’s website InfoWars – often dismissed as a conspiracy theory haven – still features prominently in Google rankings, it’s debatable how much the internal politics plays in Google’s actual search results.
Elsewhere, the lawsuit moves away from staffing complaints to take aim at the general philosophy of life at Google, where internal mailing lists are set up for alternative lifestyles – “furries, polygamy, transgenderism, and plurality” – for interested employees. “The only lifestyle that seems to not be openly discussed on Google’s internal forums is traditional heterosexual monogamy,” the document laments.
“We look forward to defending against Mr Damore’s lawsuit in court,” the company said in a statement.
Previously, Damore had claimed that Google’s hiring policy was purely based on race or gender – something which may prompt eye rolls from those who accuse the company of paying women less than men. Speaking to CNBC, Damore said that Google is “treating people differently based on race or gender.” It’s apparently, “pressing individual managers to increase diversity” and is “using race or gender” to decide which workers are promoted, and who is placed in which team.
Those are bold claims indeed and, without any real evidence to back them up, it’s an awful lot of hot air from a man known for his divisive opinions. It’s unclear exactly what Google’s stance on the matter is, especially as a Google spokesperson declined to comment.
Still, regardless of what happens, it’s a terrible injustice that anyone who willfully wears this can be considered a sensible and level-headed person.
“Fired4Truth” indeed… *facepalm*
If you’ve forgotten just how all this ridiculousness all started, we’ve got a quick summary for you below.
Google anti-diversity “manifesto”: What happened
A Google engineer published a ten-page document online objecting to Google’s diversity policies. He decried the company’s efforts to become a diverse and welcoming organisation, stating that the reason why women are so underrepresented in the tech industry is because they are biologically different to men. They’re just not wired up the same and, therefore, don’t work as well in tech-focused roles.
Motherboard first reported on the existence of the document and Gizmodo then published his document in full. The “manifesto”, as it has been dubbed, also claimed that any ideas around pay inequality being directly related to sexism – along with Google’s efforts to enrol female members of staff in education programmes – are “misguided”.
“I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes,” the memo states. “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.”
Google anti-diversity “manifesto”: Google’s reaction
Initially, Google weren’t all too fussed about their employee – who was later revealed to be James Damore – expressing his views. As Damore pointed out, Google saw it disrespectful to single him out for his differing viewpoint. Google’s vice president of diversity, integrity and governance, Danielle Brown, said in a statement to Motherboard that “part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions.
“But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.”
This then led to many people online saying Google should have come down harder on the engineer who, by working at Google, had agreed to their working policies and environment. It’s hard to pin Google’s shift in attitude on its public perception of the problem, but it didn’t take too long for Google CEO Sundar Pichai to issue a statement to his employees regarding Damore’s views.
Pichai didn’t single out Damore but, in his email titled “Our words matter,” he did state that the sentiments echoed in his post violated Google’s code of conduct.
“The line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace,” Pichai wrote in the email, according to Recode. “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.”
Google anti-diversity “manifesto”: What happened next
Shortly after Pichai’s words were sent around the company, Bloomberg was contacted by Damore stating that he had been fired from the tech company for “perpetuating gender stereotypes”.
Not to worry though, because self-proclaimed internet freedom torchbearer Julian Assange has offered him a job. Still hiding away among the rooms of the Ecuadorian Embassy, Assange offered support to Damore stating “censorship is for losers. @WikiLeaks is offering a job to fired Google engineer James Damore.”
“Women & men deserve respect. That includes not firing them for politely expressing ideas but rather arguing back.”
It’s unclear if Damore has taken him up on the offer.
Assange’s sentiment around Damore’s firing has been echoed in the alt-right corners of the internet too, with many “woke” users issuing support for him. His firing has sparked alt-righters on Twitter to crowdfund money for the presumably previously well-paid engineer.
To these internet snowflakes, Google expunging narrow-minded individuals from its workplace as unfair. In their eyes, he was simply raising his feelings around Google’s employment practices – Google’s reaction is clearly one belonging to “diversity crybullies”. As they see it, Google’s decision was an act of misandry – despite the fact it was a decision made by Google CEO Sundar Pichai who, as far as I’m aware, is a man.
Google anti-diversity “manifesto”: Boycotting Google
In a move of solidarity with a man who’s clearly Not A Very Nice Fella, many of the alt-right movement have decided it’s time to boycott Google. As you can imagine, it’s actually incredibly amusing to see them scrambling around to find alternatives for Google’s unbelievably far-reaching services.
Picking up an alternative search engine is a rather straightforward affair. Using Bing, DuckDuckGo, Ask Jeeves or an even more obscure engine is a simple (if masochistic) first step, but it’ becomes tricky when venturing into the likes of Google Play Store, YouTube, Drive etc. Unshackling yourself from Google’s infrastructure is hard, especially when you’ve been using Android all your life.
A Google boycott means no more YouTube – a major outlet they use for spouting their nonsense online. Some have held Vid.me up as an alternative platform but, let’s be realistic here: it’ just isn’t.
Some have seen sense in the boycott, understanding that any attempt to stop using Google is ultimately pointless. It’s certainly a point to worry about – nobody likes the idea of being beholden so much to a single company – but such sentiments mean that this whole mess will likely blow over in time and we can all get on with worrying about life’s bigger issues.
Still, it is highly amusing to see some alt-right activists showing their stupidity by calling on Google’s advertisers to pull ads. Seeing as Google’s ad network is literally what everyone uses, good luck with that…
Google anti-diversity “manifesto”: Google cancels constructive talk
As a means to begin addressing employee concerns over issues Damore raised, Google planned to hold a “Town Hall” meeting. However, thanks to some internet meddling by the very people who claim Google isn’t doing anything to solve the problems Damore was fired over, Google had to cancel its meeting.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai decided to cancel the event due to concerns about safety over his employees.
Having taken questions from Googlers ahead of the event via Google’s own moderation software, Pichai was concerned when those submissions “appeared externally this afternoon and on some websites, Googlers are now being named personally”.
“Googlers are writing in, concerned about their safety and worried they may be ‘outed’ publicly for asking a question in the Town Hall.” Pichai wrote in the email sent to Google employees.
Pichai met with many Google employees, some of whom felt uneasy about expressing their opinions. “The vast majority of you are very supportive of our decision. A smaller percentage of you wish we would do more,” he wrote. “Some of you are worried that you cannot speak out at work freely. All of your voices and opinions matter… and I want to hear them.”