Google surprised many of its employees Thursday after the technology giant abruptly canceled a town-hall meeting in the wake of the firing of a worker who had written the controversial leaked memo on diversity.
The last minute cancellation came after employees said they had been harassed online after their questions meant for the town hall were leaked outside the company.
The questions were to be selected from a pool of questions that were voted upon by management and employees, and the result of the voting would decide which questions were answered by Pichai at the meeting. A sampling of some of the most popular questions, according to employees, reflects the spectrum of views on the memo and its fallout. One question asks how Google will protect female workers who have been harassed online for criticizing the memo. Another asks whether Google lowers the bar for 'diversity candidates'. Some questions lament about how conservatives aren't welcome at Google. And popular question one asks how Google plans to stop leaks to the press.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai had scheduled the meeting in the wake of his firing this week of software engineer James Damore, who wrote and distributed a memo that argued biological differences between men and women explain the gender gap among tech workers. Mr. Pichai said the company would find other ways to gather and engage employees on the subject in the coming days.
The memo in question took a life of its own as outsiders weighed in. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange took to Twitter to offer Damore a job. One conservative group, Americans for Limited Government, criticized what it called Google's politically correct culture and left-wing bias. Others called for a Google boycott.
Known for its motto, "don't be evil," Google is widely seen as a liberal-leaning company, something Damore criticized in his manifesto. Liberals and tech industry leaders came to Google's defense and denounced Damore's claims as baseless and harmful.
Google's firing of Mr. Damore has sparked a nationwide debate, and fueled discussion inside the company over its diversity program and its openness to conservative viewpoints. But when employees’ questions for Pichai were leaked, some employees told Recode they had been doxxed, which is the malicious practice that involves searching for and publishing private information online.
In an email to employees, CEO Sundar Picahi said some workers had expressed concerns they would be "outed" for their questions about the company and the firing, The Wall Street Journal reported. The names of some workers who posed questions in an internal online forum reportedly leaked on multiple right-leaning websites and social media.
"Googlers are writing in, concerned about their safety and worried they may be 'outed' publicly for asking a question in the Town Hall," Picahi added.
Mr Pichai said the company would find other ways to gather and engage employees on the subject in the coming days.
Google’s firing of Damore has sparked a nationwide debate, and fueled argument inside the company over its diversity strides and its openness to conservative viewpoints.
Google employees are split over management’s dismissal of Mr Damore, according to accounts and polls of employees.
Some workers say Google execs did not go far enough to shame Mr. Damore's stance. Others say it is difficult to openly discuss diversity issues at the corporation because of a liberal bias among managers and other workers at Google. One employee said his managers' reaction to Mr. Damore's firing "has made it explicitly clear that any view not left of center is not welcome."
Blamed for years for not hiring enough women and minorities -- and not welcoming them once they are hired -- tech companies such as Google, Facebook and Uber have promised big changes. These have included diversity and mentoring programs and coding classes for groups underrepresented among the companies' technical and leadership staff. Many tech companies also pledge to interview, though not necessarily hire, minority candidates.
Another employee said he disagreed with Damore’s document, which he called “academic harassment,” and supported his firing, saying “people have been fired for a lot less.” But the Google worker also said the diversity program risks breeding dissent among the mostly white and Asian male staff, and he agreed with Mr Damore that open discussion isn’t possible at Google.
Despite the cancellation of the town hall meeting, Pichai told workers he still plans to hear their concerns about the corporation. His email said the company will “step back and create a better set of conditions for us to have the discussion.”Posted in Business and filed under news.
Source: businessinsider, foxnews,