Google has fired the senior engineer who wrote a controversial 10-page document blasting the company’s “left leaning” culture and attributing differences in pay between men and women in tech jobs partly to biological differences between genders.
The internal memo set off a firestorm of outrage as it made the rounds within the company on Friday and was published in full by Gizmodo.
The engineer, identified by media outlets as James Damore, confirmed his dismissal to Bloomberg, saying he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” He told Bloomberg he is “currently exploring all possible legal remedies.”
He already has another job offer. Julian Assange offered Damore a job, Britain’s The Telegraph reports. Assange tweeted his support for Damore from the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
“Censorship is for losers. @WikiLeaks is offering a job to fired Google engineer James Damore,” Assange tweeted early Tuesday.
“Women & men deserve respect. That includes not firing them for politely expressing ideas but rather arguing back.”
The Telegraph reported that Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai told employees in a note on Monday that portions of Damore’s anti-diversity memo “violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”
Pichai’s email was reportedly titled “Our words matter.”
“To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK,” Pichai wrote, according to Recode.
Damore called his essay “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.”
“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,” it read.
It argued that differences in pay between men and women in the technology sector are not entirely related to bias against women, but are partly attributable to biological differences between the genders, CNBC reported.
It also called on Google to “stop alienating conservatives” and called into question practices like “unconscious bias” training for committees that promote employees.
“Women, on average, have more openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas. Women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things, relative to men.”
Damore stated that women tend to be more interested in people rather than things, “empathizing vs. systemizing,” whereas men have a higher drive for status and so tend to end up in leadership positions.
He also said that on average, women have more “neuroticism,” as defined as “higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance.”
Outrage from within and outside the company was swift, with #GoogleManifesto trending on Twitter.
Google vice president of diversity Danielle Brown responded to the document in a memo on Saturday, writing that the document “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender” and that “it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.”
The controversy comes at a time when Silicon Valley’s treatment of women has been in the spotlight, following a string of allegations of harassment and discrimination at large companies such as Uber and at high-profile venture capital firms, Business Insider noted.
Google is also embroiled in a legal dispute with the Department of Labor, which has accused Google of “systemic compensation disparities” between men and women.
The manifesto had its share of supporters sounding off on social media.
People continued to support Damore after news of his firing became public.
Lisa Gutierrez: 816-234-4987. @LisaGinKC