By April Glaser
On Saturday, Motherboard reported that an anti-diversity manifesto penned by James Damore, a software engineer at Google, had gone “internally viral” at the company—and then, after Gizmodo obtained and published the 10-page document, it went viral-viral. The screed aired its author’s qualms with diversity and inclusion initiatives at Google, programs he deemed a waste of time because women are inherently less suited for technical roles than men. Or as he put it, in a faux-measured tone: “I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.” Throughout the memo, Damore dismisses internal programs that are supposed to address race and gender disparities at Google.
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By Monday evening, Google had fired Damore, he confirmed to Bloomberg, after Google CEO Sundar Pichai said his memo violated the firm’s code of conduct. But that came after the company had let the document circulate for days. After it leaked to the press, it generated so much blowback that Pichai cut his family vacation short to deal with the uproar.
Firing an employee who made it clear he felt many of his co-workers were inferior was the right move, and it says something about what Google wants to be as a company. That someone felt comfortable disseminating the document in the first place, however, says even more about the company Google currently is. And the entire episode crystalizes the reckoning Silicon Valley is currently enduring, over why so many of the most forward-thinking companies in the world simply can’t seem to treat all of their employees equally and decently.