Former Google engineer James Damore was fired for writing an anti-diversity and anti-woman 10-page memo. He now feels "hurt" by his former employer.
Damore's manifesto, "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber," was leaked over the weekend and in it the former intern said women were too neurotic to work in tech and not as ambitious. Here's our previous coverage of Damore's Jerry Maguire misfire.
According to Damore, he wrote his manifesto on a 12-hour flight returning from a diversity training in China that was just WAYY TOO DIVERSE for the admitted conservative's tastes. Damore is the kind of guy who felt the need to write a 10-page essay on why he disagrees with Google's diversity practices and then posts on an internal company discussion forum.
Let's also note here that according to Bloomberg, Damore's social media accounts include what appear to be his own charcoal sketches of celebrities like Will Smith and Kiera Knightly.
Anyway, the "memo" went viral, sparked heated discussions on the merits and downsides of diversity, science, and free speech, and Damore got fired for "perpetuating gender stereotypes" after what he considered a "smear" campaign.
Says Damore in a Skype interview with Bloomberg, "No one high up ever came to me and said, 'No, don't do this,' even though there were many people who looked at it. It was only after it got viral that upper management started shaming me and eventually firing me."
"There was a concerted effort among upper management to have a very clear signal that what I did was harmful and wrong and didn't stand for Google. It would be career suicide for any executives or directors to support me," he continued, also claiming that there are a ton of people who agree with him but are afraid to say so.
A new Twitter account @Fired4Truth claims to be James Damore's. It mostly retweets people who agree with him.
Meanwhile, over on Quora, an evolutionary biologist explains why there's no biological inferiority that makes women less suited to working in technology. Just in case you were worried that a Kiera Knightly sketch artist might be right about lady brains.
Back in Mountain View, Google CEO Sundar Pichai apparently agonized over the decision whether or not to fire Damore. Recode has a great analysis of the behind-the-scenes drama following the memo and it wasn't as cut-and-dry as one might imagine, even for a company currently being sued for a systematic pay disparity based on gender.
"I think the problem and also benefit of Google has been that we've created and encouraged an environment where everyone thinks they can say what they want, because that is what has always been the way it has been. But, at some point, if we really want to change, we have to think harder about what impact that has, especially when it makes women or others feel unsafe in the environment we have created..." one top executive explained to Recode.
YouTube CEO and Google leader Susan Wojcicki was all for canning Damore, saying, "While people may have a right to express their beliefs in public, that does not mean companies cannot take action when women are subjected to comments that perpetuate negative stereotypes about them based on their gender. Every day, companies take action against employees who make unlawful statements about co-workers, or create hostile work environments."
According to Bloomberg, "Damore said he is planning to pursue legal action but declined to say on what grounds or whether he had hired a lawyer. He also said he had been advised not to talk to the press." Yesterday, Wired reported that Damore had filed a claim with the National Labor Relations Board prior to his firing, which could lead to his having a case in federal court this despite California being an "at-will" employment state.
"It still hasn't truly hit me, the enormity of it all," said Damore, who has, according to Business Insider, already been offered a job from WikiLeaks' Julian Assange.