WikiLeaks Founder Offers Fired Google Engineer A Job, Says ‘Censorship Is For Losers’
A Google engineer fired for creating a working environment hostile to women is fighting back and fielding job offers — including one from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
James Damore, 28, has become the latest lightning rod in the debate raging around the country about rampant sexism in the tech ecosystem.
Damore wrote a 10-page memo last week called “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” that circulated internally at Google, accusing Google of stifling conservative voices.
In the memo, which is being described by some media outlets as a manifesto, Damore denied the idea that gender diversity should be a goal. Instead he asserted that there are biological causes behind gender inequality in the tech industry and he accused Googe of being the hostile one — hostile to conservative viewpoints.
“The distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and … these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership,” Damore wrote in the memo.
He also said, “Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture” which prevents honest discussion of diversity.
Damore confirmed being fired by Alphabet-owned Google, saying in an email to Reuters on Monday that he was fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes”.
The manifesto was quickly embraced by some, particularly on the political right, branding him a brave truth-teller, Reuters reported. Others found his views, which argued that men in general may be biologically more suited to coding jobs than women, offensive.
Man fired for expressing an unpopular opinion. Seems to validate the concerns he expressed in his memo. pic.twitter.com/FnSEWiSHkX
— Jason Beale (@jabeale) August 8, 2017
Danielle Brown, Google’s vice president of diversity, sent a memo in response to the memo over the weekend, saying the engineer “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender”.
Julian Assange, publisher of the newsleaking platform WikiLeaks, offered Damore a job Tuesday, Reuters reported.
“Censorship is for losers,” Assange wrote on Twitter. “Women & men deserve respect. That includes not firing them for politely expressing ideas but rather arguing back.”
Companies can restrict the speech of employees, legal and employment experts say, but some argue that Damore’s views left Google little or no choice but to fire him since he had effectively created a hostile work environment for women, Reuters reported.
Damore said in an email on Monday that he was considering challenging his firing. He said Google upper management tried to shame him into silence and he’s filed a charge with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board. Damore was a software engineer and worked for Google since December 2013, according to a LinkedIn profile.
Assange was accused but never charged with rape and molestation in Sweden when he went there in August 2010 to speak at a conference. He fled bail and Ecuador granted Assange asylum in 2012. Assange has been living since then in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, where he risks arrest as soon as he sets foot outside the building, according to The Telegraph.
Assange insists he is innocent and the accusations are politically motivated.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees Monday that parts of the anti-diversity memo “violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace,” according to a copy of the note seen by Reuters.
Assange said that reprimands should never include firing employees for “politely expressing ideas.”
Assange’s history with feminist culture and anti-political correctness is the subject of “Risk,” an award-winning documentary by Laura Poitras.
People are overreacting to Damore’s memo and he’s being accused of saying things he never said, Cathy Young wrote in a USA Today opinion piece:
Damore has been assailed for supposedly saying that “women are unsuited to tech jobs,” dismissing his female co-workers as “unqualified tokens,” or “demanding (an) end to inclusion of women” and minorities. But the memo says nothing of the kind. At most, Damore argues that because of innate cognitive and personality differences, a 50/50 gender balance in the tech sector may be unrealistic.
He argues that expanding diversity is good but Google is going about it all wrong — for instance, by offering gender- and race-exclusionary support programs, favoring “diversity” hires, and promoting hypersensitivity to “unconscious bias” and unintentional offenses. And it suggests alternative strategies, such as drawing more women to software engineering by making some of those jobs more people-oriented, more collaborative and less stressful (though Damore notes there are limits to such change).
In this exchange posted on Twitter, Danmore says he thinks Google’s diversity practices are illegal:
— Ellen Huet (@ellenhuet) August 9, 2017