Google Engineer Wrote Controversial Memo After Attending Company Diversity Program

After attending one of Google’s diversity programs James Damore said in an interview with a conservative YouTube channel, “There’s just so much hypocrisy in the things they are saying.”

SCREENGRAB VIA YOUTUBE

The Google engineer who penned a memo with misogynist ideas that cost him his job has spoken out about the situation.

To read Damore’s full memo click here.

Former Google engineer James Damore, who was fired on Monday, discussed what happened with Stefan Molyneux, host of a conservative YouTube channel.

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Google Engineer’s Anti-Diversity Memo Displays Company’s Misogynist Culture

Google Engineer’s Anti-Diversity Memo Displays Company’s Misogynist Culture

Top leaders at the company demonstrated their own worst practices by hiding behind a statement from their brand new head of diversity, who has only been on the job for a couple of weeks.

Damore said during the interview that the “left” and the “right” were not talking to each other, and that he wanted the two sides to engage in discussions with each other.

Notably, the YouTube channel Damore interviewed with also contains videos including “The Death of Masculinity: Why Men Will Rise Again,” “Leftist Violence Against Trump Supporters | True News,” “How Feminism Destroyed Europe” and “Why Feminism Hurts Women: What They Won’t Tell You!”

Incidentally, the idea came to Damore after attending a diversity program hosted by his former employer.

“I went to a diversity program at Google and, you know, it was all … it wasn’t recorded at all, it was totally secretive. And I heard things that I definitely disagreed with in some of our programs. I had some discussions with people there, but there was a lot of just shaming and, ‘No, you can’t say that, that’s sexist, you can’t do this.’ There’s just so much hypocrisy in a lot of the things they were saying. So I decided to create the document just to clarify my thoughts.”

When employed correctly, a focus on diversity and inclusion is in fact a positive thing for companies, data shows. The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list, when expressed as a stock index, outperforms the rest of the market, suggesting that good judgment in one area permeates throughout an organization.

Damore was on a 12-hour flight to China when he began writing the now well-known manifesto, “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.” He is not sure how the memo became public, but he believes people who were complaining about it on Twitter shared it with Gizmodo.

According to Damore, the backlash came as somewhat of a shock.

“It’s surprising. There may be a lot of negative responses in the public, but very few of them actually send me messages because they just want to virtue signal to all their followers, ‘Hey, I’m a great person, I share your morals, and this person is bad.’ But they don’t want to actually have a debate on why I’m wrong or even confront me. They just want to show how self-righteous they are. In contrast, I’ve gotten a ton of personal messages of support, which has been really nice. And I got that at Google before all of this leaked.”

During the interview Molyneux called the idea of white male privilege “the opposite of privilege.”

“There was a surprising amount of attacks that were just against my race and gender, which is exactly what we’re trying to avoid with these things, right?” Damore questioned.

“A lot of this came from me seeing some of the problems in our culture at Google, where a lot of people that weren’t in this group-think just felt totally isolated and alienated,” he said later. “There were many people that came to me and just said, ‘Yeah I’m thinking of leaving Google because this is getting so bad.’ So I really thought it was a problem that Google itself had to fix. And hopefully they do.”

Current and former employees at Google had expressed on social media that the tech giant does not necessarily cultivate a women-friendly culture.

“When we’re just totally blind to new evidence or anything that contradicts our ideology we’ll only drift further and further to the left and into more authoritarian types of policies,” Damore said.

In response to the memo, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that open discussions that employ different schools of thought are acceptable but that the ideas behind Damore’s writing is “not OK.”

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Google CEO Defends Engineer’s Right to Pen Misogynist Memo

Google CEO Defends Employee’s Right to Express Unpopular Views, Condemns ‘Harmful’ Portions

CEO Sundar Pichai said “much of what was in” misogynistic memo from engineer “is fair to debate, regardless of whether a vast majority … disagree,” but said language “advancing harmful gender stereotypes” was “not OK.” The employee reportedly has been fired.

“Our co-workers shouldn’t have to worry that each time they open their mouths to speak in a meeting, they have to prove that they are not like the memo states, being ‘agreeable’ rather than ‘assertive,’ showing a ‘lower stress tolerance,’ or being ‘neurotic,’” Pichai said in an memo to Google employees. “At the same time, there are co-workers who are questioning whether they can safely express their views in the workplace (especially those with a minority viewpoint).”

After giving employees the green light to “express themselves” in a way that could create a hostile work environment for certain employees, he then suggested staff members “make an effort over the coming days to reach out to those who might have different perspectives from your own.”

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

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19 comments

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  • This guy’s entitled to think whatever sexist dribble he wants. However, he cannot disseminate in his workplace a manifesto stating that his female coworkers are — biologically — unsuited for their jobs and that diversity programs should, therefore, be abandoned, and expect there not to be consequences.

    Reply
    • it’s “drivel”. And I’ve not studied and parsed Damore’s words, but I do agree with him in simply asking equal treatment for human beings regardless of gender or race. Don’t hold anyone back, don’t give anyone free stuff. Level playing field, like in sports. Not real difficult.

      Reply
      • Just my opinion, but isn’t that all anyone, to include women, minorities, transgendered, Muslims, etc., ever asked for and were overwhelmingly denied throughout history? Counting heads (diversity) is fine, but making heads count (inclusion) should be the goal.

        Reply
  • The thing that struck me most about what Mr. Damore apparently said on that YouTube channel was, “But they don’t want to actually have a debate on why I’m wrong or even confront me. They just want to show how self-righteous they are.”

    I’m pretty sure that it’s never ANYone’s goal to demonstrate “how self-righteous [they are].”

    I suspect the adjective Mr. Damore intended was something like “superior” (as in “…to show how superior they are”). But the adjective he used MAY be more consistent with the low opinion he SEEMS to have of those with whom he disagrees. (For example, it’s probably a pretty poor human being who actively chooses to be self-righteous and to intentionally display that self-righteousness to the world. And perhaps his thinking is that you’d HAVE to be a poor human being who’s tone-deaf to his own self-righteousness to not see things HIS way.)

    I hope that the folks at Google with whom I’m more likely to agree would ALSO not have the goal of engaging in “a debate on why [Mr. Damore is] wrong.” It is his IDEAS that might be “wrong” (a non-trivial distinction), and I suspect any attempt to engage him on his ideas would end up being an exercise in futility — after all, they have the devastatingly compelling virtue of being HIS ideas. (I have seen this kind of ‘blindness’ play out in myself as well as in others, and it’s NOT pretty…) Such a debate would probably have a lot more negative outcomes than positive ones. And confrontation is something that many of us try to avoid – regardless of whether we are “the assaulter” or “the assaulted.”

    Perhaps it is unfair of me to draw conclusions about Mr. Damore SOLELY based on what I’ve read on DiversityInc.com — especially based on what I’ve chosen to emphasize in this comment, so I’ll try harder to not be unfair to him. But I’ve known too many people over the years who are the way I imagine HIM to be, so I’m probably just too inclined to be biased against what SEEMS like one more…

    Reply
    • His arguments are foolish. “Self righteous” doesn’t generate profits. “Political correctness” doesn’t satisfy Wall Street analysts. Corporations exist to make money. Period.

      In this age of google searches, good corporate citizenship is profitable. Corporate buccaneers are punished.

      Can’t wait to see the ultimate effects of Mueller’s investigation- bet there will be a bunch of golf courses for sale very soon.

      Reply
  • He claims that there needs to be more dialogue, then wrote a long rant about how he had to sit through a seminar he “disagreed” with. More of the reverse snowflakery we’re seeing these days. I do wonder what the workshop was like; the trainings I attended as a professional in higher education were very empowering and emotionally raw – and I’m a straight white male. Rather than telling me what I can and cannot say they were about educating people about the experiences of a variety of different peoples and respecting them as humans.

    Reply
    • Maybe not exactly the perfect way to respond, but for one to formulate and document one’s response to a mandatory seminar one finds distasteful or hypocritical might actually be a passable definition of “more dialogue”. Have heard the engineer, Damore, make claims along the lines that while he’s been fired for writing things that were not correct, not true, no one from Google has actually told him which of his words were incorrect or untrue. Even more dialogue needed?

      Reply
      • No. If you’re working for someone, how you fill out an expense report, when you show up for work, what kind of equipment you use, how you use it and how you treat coworkers- it’s ALL out of your hands. You follow the directions set forth by those held accountable to the board of directors to accomplish revenue and profitability goals to provide return on equity to the shareholders (in a publicly traded company).

        The best and brightest have the most options to work for companies that reflect their values. At Google, the “best and brightest” are predominantly defined by white and Asian men. Apparently senior management has decided to open that aperture, but not many non Asian or white men have responded. It looks like the environment/culture is at fault and senior management is taking steps to change the culture to achieve success. For those currently employed, get with the program or find another job.

        Reply
  • He just doesn’t get it, does he? There have been thousands of hims for a couple of thousands of years.

    His “ideas” are the same justifications given for slavery, subjugation, genocide of others.

    How stupid is he?

    1. Come to work
    2. Do your effing job, well.
    3. Collect paycheck.
    4. Don’t starve

    1. Come to work and decide its an excellent idea to espouse your Nazi eugenics theories in the workplace…
    2. Get fired
    3. Then the rest, I guess, is to whine on social media.

    Like its our fault, he’s genetically stupid.

    Reply
  • Paul Mottola

    Full disclosure, I have not read Mr. Damore’s manifesto, so I cannot comment on whether or not it warranted his termination. What I would offer is this: if organizations want to leverage diversity and inclusion they must create a safe space for dissenting views. The only way to broaden the perspective of someone who does not value diversity and inclusion is to understand the perspective and share information that can help broaden it. Privilege is a hard concept to grasp, especially for those who have it. it is important to distinguish between earned and unearned privilege. As a white male (just two of my many dimensions of diversity), have I had to work hard for what I have achieved in life? Yes. Have I had to work as hard as my colleagues who are women and people of color (anyone who self identifies as something other than white)? No. I have worked hard to be an advocate for people who have less privilege than I have have. I believe that is the responsibility of all those who have unearned privilege, to use it to advocate for those who don’t have it. As MLK Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” If one person on my team is marginalized, the whole team suffers. Creating and maintaining an inclusive culture where talent can thrive is THE most important thing to organizational success.

    Reply
    • I disagree.

      Google exists to make a return on shareholder equity. They do a good job. They appear to recognize that they have some work to do on providing an environment where talent is developed equitably. The companies I’ve worked with over the years have diversity efforts for strategic business reasons, always related to quality of talent, sometimes market (customer) relations as well.

      Damore thought it was about “conservative” vs. “liberal”. He was wrong. It’s about money.

      There is no need in a corporation for a “safe place” to discuss womens’ innate inability to be successful at when top management has decided that women are equally capable.

      Clearly Google has a loooong way to go to make that a reality, but IMO they don’t need to waste time discussing concepts that are antithetical to strategic business direction set forth by top management.

      Reply
      • “no need in a corporation for a “safe place” to discuss womens’ innate inability to be successful at when top management has decided that women are equally capable.”

        Was there then much of any need for American Quakers and Congregationalists and such to seek safe spaces to discuss and work toward realizing American blacks’ innate humanity and desire for freedom when the various founders, courts and Congresses had all declared that black slavery was legal, and was, in those days, “law of the land”?

        Reply
  • OK. Here’s the deal. This guy took a job, knowing that like all companies, they have rules he has to follow to keep his job. If they tell him to use a pogo stick to get around the office and recite Simone de Beauvoir while dressed up in a burka and juggling apples…he has to do that to maintain employment. It’s actually pretty clear. No laws have been violated here. Google is a private employer, and does not owe this man a thing.

    Spewing out unsupported “scientific” facts that state that many of his co-workers are not well-suited for their jobs was not helpful, or true. Studies do NOT show that women are more “emotional”, what they show is that the expression of emotions of happiness and anxiety are more often expressed by women, and the expression of anger is more often expressed by men. See that? Men have emotions too! Stop the presses!

    By NOT firing him, Google would open themselves up to (rightful) claims that they were perpetuating a hostile work environment. You know, lawsuits. Not only that, if their customers, vendors, and partners found out, their business and reputation would be damaged. They made the right call here.

    Are some of his colleagues defending him? Sure. There are misogynist assholes everywhere. Just like there are people who don’t understand business.

    This pillar of the Google community, by the way, did an interview on a YouTube channel. A channel that also includes such timeless gems as: “The Death of Masculinity: Why Men Will Rise Again,” “Leftist Violence Against Trump Supporters | True News,” “How Feminism Destroyed Europe” and “Why Feminism Hurts Women: What They Won’t Tell You!”

    So cry me a river. Will he have a hard time getting another job? I hope so.

    https://digest.bps.org.uk/…/do-women-really-show-their-emo…/
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…/Gender_and_emotional_expression

    Reply
    • Cheryl Woehr

      I agree, it is the workplace and you don’t get to openly air your misogynistic, sexist or racist remarks freely. Not only does it destroy the cultural climate, affecting individuals in the workplace (particularly those that are not privileged) it affects the bottom line, the almighty dollar.

      Damore acts as though he is the victim and says he feels shamed. Well he just tried to dismiss women as not having the biological background for engineering or leadership. That is sending the message that women are less than. Yes, free speech is part of our constitution but the workplace is a different story. If Google is trying to change their corporate image and create a climate of inclusiveness then Damore needs to be made an example of what is inappropriate and that his behavior won’t be tolerated. Tech companies really need to step up their game on diversity and inclusiveness including Google.

      Reply
  • Greg Thrasher

    Damore was like many others of late in the Trump Era that believe they have a public license to express their White male narrative and entitlement .

    BLM

    Reply
    • Yes, exactly. Then when they don’t get the response they want, they pout and cry like babies. Damore needs to grow up and take his medicine like a man. He worked for Google; Google didn’t work for him. He should’ve kept his ill thought out opinions to himself. Guess he’s one of those that needs to learn his life lessons the hard way.

      Reply
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