Google has reportedly fired the author of anti-diversity rant

8 Aug 201738 Shares

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Google Mountain View campus. Image: Pozdeyev Vitaly/Shutterstock

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Inflammatory, conservative memo has caused a firestorm of debate over attitudes to gender diversity in tech.

Google has reportedly fired the author of a controversial memo criticising the Alphabet-owned company’s efforts to achieve diversity.

The screed/essay/rant inflamed public opinion as it attributed the gender imbalance in tech to biological differences between men and women.

‘To suggest that a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work [at Google] is offensive and not OK’
– SUNDAR PICHAI

The author of the inflammatory memo, revealed publicly by Gizmodo at the weekend, has been identified as James Damore.

The memo, which had been online for days before it reached the attention of the media, belittled women’s technology skills and prompted significant debate within the company, with some workers defending Damore’s views.

The most recent demographics report at Google showed that 69pc of staff are male, as is 80pc of its technical staff.

According to Bloomberg, Damore is understood to have been fired by Google on Monday (7 August) after his internal post went viral over the weekend.

Damore confirmed his dismissal to Bloomberg and said he is “currently exploring all possible legal remedies”.

Google is hurting

Google CEO Sundar Pichai moved fast to address the hurt that the memo caused within the company’s 75,000-strong global workforce.

“To suggest that a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work [at Google] is offensive and not OK,” Pichai told workers in a memo.

“It is contrary to our basic values and code of conduct, which expects ‘each Googler to do their utmost to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination’.

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

“Our co-workers shouldn’t have to worry that each time they open their mouths to speak in a meeting, they have to prove that they are not like the memo states, being ‘agreeable’ rather than ‘assertive’, showing a ‘lower stress tolerance’, or being ‘neurotic’,” Pichai said.

Google Mountain View campus. Image: Pozdeyev Vitaly/Shutterstock

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com