Google CEO's Speech Was Canceled Due To Online Harassment Threats

More than 60 current and former Google employees allege the tech giant of sexism and pay disparities against women. —AFP  File

You can read Brooks' piece at The New York Times.

After James Damore, the Google engineer who was sacked this week, wrote a contentious memo about gender and diversity, he said he wanted to start a conversation between the left and the right.

The memo written by a Google employee that went viral earlier this month hit a raw nerve.

Another echoed Damore's criticisms: "I am a moderately conservative Googler, and I am and have been scared to share my beliefs".

For its part, Google must now grapple with possible lawsuits; a fired employee who's fast becoming a public figure; an ongoing debate over the limits of free speech; a surge of employees leaking information; and a struggle to protect employees as it becomes the latest villain for the alt-right.

His memo has ignited a fierce debate about the company's culture.

Brande Stellings, senior vice president of advisory services for Catalyst, a nonprofit advocacy group for women in the workplace, said the engineer's viewpoints show "how ingrained, entrenched and harmful gender-based stereotypes truly are". Damore said he shared the missive, titled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber", about a month ago with specific individuals and groups focused on diversity before posting it to a mailing list called "skeptics" on August 2. Damore was sacked on Monday.

He was sacked on Monday, and the situation quickly escalated.

Google declined to comment on the planned protest.

The screenshots appeared on Breitbart News, which has celebrated Damore's memo as an example of Silicon Valley's intolerance of conservative views. In the meantime, the fired Google employee has been thrust into the spotlight and gained several job offers. Pichai canceled the meeting, though, after some employees expressed concerns about being harassed online. Pichai's email was sent about an hour before the event was to start Thursday afternoon. "You belong here, and we need you", Pichai told girl innovators at the company. Many Google employees recoiled at the document after he shared it more widely last week.

While some individuals surmised the memo may have sprung from Damore's resentment toward Google's diversity initiatives, others welcomed it. Introduced as evidence in a lawsuit brought by a former employee alleging that Google's confidentiality agreements were illegal, the email was telling because it highlighted the importance of open discussion at the company as well as its potential perils.

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