In an open letter distributed Tuesday, a Google software engineer described a company culture of left-wing “outrage mobs” who use the tech giant’s anonymous bias-reporting channels to shut down conservative social and political thought.
Mike Wacker, writing on Medium, warned that if “left unchecked, these outrage mobs will hunt down any conservative, any Christian, and any independent free thinker at Google who does not bow down to their agenda.”
He claimed that in March, the company offered him a severance package to leave, with an implied threat that it would find a pretext to fire him if he refused.
In 2017, Google employee James Damore was fired after writing a memo accusing the tech giant of “alienating conservatives” at its Bay Area headquarters.
Wacker offered as an example an incident in which a fellow Republican was confronted for expressing admiration for University of Toronto Professor Jordan Peterson and his protest of the Canadian government forcing people to use transgender pronouns.
The concerned employee said that this support for Peterson caused other employees to feel unsafe at work.
Wacker himself was reported twice through Google’s anonymous reporting channels.
He commented in a Google forum in January that the company’s activists “could only be described as ‘nonpartisan’ in the same sense that the Women’s March could be described as inclusive towards pro-life Jewish women.” In response, he received a note that said his statement was perceived as “hateful/incendiary/inflammatory.”
In February, he received a note that said, “You received feedback on [email protected] that your comments were ‘rude, disrespectful, and intellectually dishonest.”
When Wacker criticized the Google AI ethics board’s dropping of Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James, a Google employee responded, “Everyone is aware of your tolerance for bigotry.”
In March, Wacker had a meeting with HR and his manager in which he “received a final written warning” and “a verbal offer of 8 weeks of severance pay if I left the company.”
“That verbal offer of severance was an implied threat of termination,” he wrote. “While they never said it explicitly, it was clear that if I didn’t take that offer, they would invent some pretext to fire me shortly thereafter.”
The Daily Caller said a Google spokesman declined to comment on Wacker but said “to make sure that no complaint raised goes unheard at Google, we give employees multiple channels to report concerns, including anonymously, and investigate all allegations of retaliation.”
‘Ideological echo chamber’
The former Google employee Damore filed a class action lawsuit in response to his firing.
The company reacted to his circulation of a memo titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber: How bias clouds our thinking about diversity and inclusion.”
It was intended only for internal distribution, according to his legal complaint. But it was leaked by a Google employee to a left-leaning tech site, either Vice Motherboard or Gizmodo, “which selectively quoted from the memo and misinterpreted it.” The story then was picked up worldwide.
The complaint said the memo discussed “the differences in political ideologies between the leftist liberals and the rightist conservatives, and suggested that neither ideology on its own was ‘100% correct,’ but that a balance between the two would be best for society and Google. The memo then identified Google as having a liberal bias.”
Google employees and managers, according to the complaint, “strongly preferred to hear the same orthodox opinions regurgitated repeatedly, producing an ideological echo chamber, a protected, distorted bubble of groupthink.”
The complaint also provided evidence that some Google managers have blacklists of conservative employees they won’t hire or with whom they refuse to work.
Other Google employees also suggested terminating employees with conservative values that did not comport with their own, the complaint said.
“One even suggested firing an employee twice simply to get the point across – conservatives were not welcome at Google.”