The memo leaked out and led to a barrage of criticism channelled towards Google's management. The New York Times dubbed Duke "the Annie Leibovitz of the Alt-right" and said he does the shoots pro bono.
Google has prided itself on its openness. And if they did, the saw what they wanted to see, picking and choosing the parts that transgressed against the overpowering groupthink present in Google corporate culture.
And Google employees typically have a lot to say. That's a big challenge when Google's parent company, Alphabet, now employs 76,000 employees around the world.
James Damore, the Google engineer sacked for writing a controversial memo about the company's diversity policies, has continued to court a right-wing and alt-right audience in the days since his firing. He held a sign reading, "Fired for Telling the Truth".
Google said Damore violated its code of conduct and his actions advanced harmful gender stereotypes. But Damore isn't qualified to discuss them in a scientific context. As more employees took notice, Mr. Damore's words soon spilled out onto the internet. Damore was sacked on Monday. Someone with access to an employee-only version of Google Plus made screenshots of messages written by Google employees pledging to create blacklists of colleagues not supportive of the company's diversity measures.
Damore is now on tour of mostly conservative media outlets. After the post, many Google employees started to face online harassment "doxxing". That reignited concerns that internal discussions would not stay private. A half-hour before the event was expected to begin, Pichai sent an email canceling the meeting.
"Googlers are writing in, concerned about their safety and anxious they may be "outed" publicly for asking a question in the Town Hall", Pichai wrote. She said the personal essay proved his memo was "sexist" and "anti-diversity". Many Google employees recoiled at the document after he shared it more widely last week.
Damore concludes that "the viewpoint I was putting forward is generally suppressed at Google" but it was because of the "giant media controversy" that he was let go. He added that it "saddens me to leave Google and to see the company silence open and honest discussion".
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