Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
Science | By Cecil Little

Fired engineer James Damore: Google is 'almost like a cult' (GOOG)

Fired engineer James Damore: Google is 'almost like a cult' (GOOG)

After James Damore, the Google engineer who was sacked this week, wrote a contentious memo about gender and diversity, he said he wanted to start a conversation between the left and the right.

Damore disagrees with how the company reacted to his post, claiming that he only meant to say men and women differ due to biological reasons and that is why there are not so many female representatives in leadership positions and in the tech industry.

The memo written by a Google employee that went viral earlier this month hit a raw nerve.

Ads criticizing Google over firing James Damore have been plastered on benches and bus stops near the company's office in Venice.

But Google executives, including the chief executive officer and the chief of diversity, deemed the document to be in violation of the company's code of conduct because it "perpetuated gender stereotypes". Volunteers are planning a march on the company offices in nine cities on August 19, according to the March on Google website.

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Brown and Google CEO Sundar Pichai condemned parts of the memo that weekend.

"An engineer fired for simply expressing an opinion that ran counter to Google's politically-charged atmosphere of an "Ideological Echo Chamber" as (Damore) put it".

The Google engineer who was sacked after his critique of the company's diversity policy was made public compared his former workplace to a "cult".

Google's CEO had originally planned to address some of these issues at an all-hands meeting Thursday, but he canceled the meeting at the last minute due to concerns about leaks and employees being threatened and harassed online.

Now if only Google could get its own employees to be as careful about not spilling confidential information about co-workers to parties on the outside. "Looking at who works for Google, it all makes sense now..." the caption read. Fired4Truth, widely believed to be Damore's Twitter account, hit 35,000 followers in a matter of days.

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Meanwhile, Damore has appealed in a complaint against Alphabet to protect his rights under a provision of the National Labour Relations Act.

The female employees of the tech giant contend that they have earned less than men at Google despite equal qualifications and comparable positions, the report quoted James Finberg, the civil rights attorney working on the possible legal action on behalf of the employees, as saying.

Perhaps most pertinently, 441 Google employees responded.

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.

In an essay published in The Wall Street Journal on Friday, Mr. Damore said "there was no outcry or charge of misogyny" when he shared the memo initially. The loud voice here is the liberal one.

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