Google CEO says “people must feel free to express dissent” after he fires employee who did

Sundar Pichai

“Philosophically, I don’t think we should do arbitrary social engineering of tech just to make it appealing to equal portions of both men and women. For each of these changes, we need principled reasons for why it helps Google.” ~ recently fired Google engineer James Damore

A day after Google fired a computer engineer for sharing a memo expressing his views about Google’s PC/social engineering culture, the CEO Sundar Pichai wrote a memo to staff saying that “people must feel free to express dissent.”

“First, let me say that we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves, and much of what was in that memo is fair to debate, regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it,” Pichai wrote. “However, portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

Google’s vice president of [their Orwellian-sounding] diversity, integrity and governance also wrote that everyone must “feel safe sharing their opinion,” according to Motherboard.

Yes, Google makes their employees feel very safe, we say sardonically.

The terminated employee, James Damore, titled the memo that got him fired, “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” and in it he explained that rather than basing hiring on gender, which he sees as inherently sexist, Google should stop making diversity into a moral virtue, stop alienating conservatives, stop restricting programs and classes to certain genders or race, and have an open and honest discussion about the costs and benefits of diversity programs.

Google reported that Mr. Damore has apparently filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming the search giant retaliated against him unfairly.

Upon being told of the complaint, Google Recode’s Kara Swisher wrote that Damore said women were not biologically suited to work as techs. It’s not what he said and she completely mischaracterized it. The media also came crashing down on him, dubbing it the “anti-diversity memo“, which it clearly was not. They called it a “manifesto” to further demean Mr. Damore.

Part of the memo reads:

“I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes. 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.”

It continues:

“Only facts and reason can shed light on these biases, but when it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence. This silence removes any checks against encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies.”

He also said the lack of women applicants could be related to women having different interests. That was the deal killer. Pinchai wrote in his missive, “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.”

That’s not what Damore said but it’s what they heard apparently.

Pinchai wrote, “The memo has clearly impacted our co-workers, some of whom are hurting and feel judged based on their gender.”

They’re “hurting”? Isn’t that an overreaction? Their tender feelings are more important than an employee’s rights.

NPR reported that some women had to skip work they were so upset. If that doesn’t play into stereotypes of women, it’s hard to know what does.

There was nothing extreme or inappropriate in the memo. The memo was thoughtful and included suggestions to improve.

Damore was fired for his opinions in a company that says they want everyone to “feel safe” sharing their opinions. Apparently that holds as long as it’s the opinions they agree with in their “echo chamber”. Google proved his point.

Ironically, Eric Schmidt, the former Google CEO and current executive chairman of Alphabet has said that one of Google’s founding values was “freedom of expression.”



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