There’s no hiding from Google! The author of the samizdat memo that “went viral” within Google late last week, and was leaked to the public over the weekend has been identified and fired. George Orwell would immediately recognize the problem. What we have here is doubleplus ungood crimethought. Were he still alive, I speculate that Orwell would offer a new corporate slogan to replace “Don’t be evil.” How about “Diversity means uniformity.”
Mark Bergen and Ellen Huet write at Bloomberg:
Alphabet Inc.’s Google has fired an employee who wrote an internal memo blasting the web company’s diversity policies, creating a firestorm across Silicon Valley.
James Damore, the Google engineer who wrote the note, confirmed his dismissal in an email, saying that he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” He said he’s “currently exploring all possible legal remedies.”
I just bet he is. If he starts a legal defense fund, I will contribute to it. I would LOVE to see Google executives defending themselves in court. Testifying before a Silicon Valley jury made up of the racial mix that characterizes the area. Lots of Asian Americans, who ware way, way overrepresented in the workforce and may have to a make way for people with the right race and gender makeup. Keep in mind that the Sessions Justice Department is looking into the admissions standards at Harvard that require Asian Americans to score hundreds of points higher on SATs than whites, blacks, or Hispanics. As this potential case makes its way through the wheels of justice, expect lots of conversations about affirmative action and Asian Americans.
Here is the defense that Google is now indicating it will take:
Earlier on Monday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent a note to employees that said portions of the memo “violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” But he didn’t say if the company was taking action against the employee. A Google representative, asked about the dismissal, referred to Pichai’s memo. (snip)
After the controversy swelled, Danielle Brown, Google’s new vice president for diversity, integrity and governance, sent a statement to staff condemning Damore’s views and reaffirmed the company’s stance on diversity. In internal discussion boards, multiple employees said they supported firing the author, and some said they would not choose to work with him, according to postings viewed by Bloomberg News.
“We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company,” Brown said in the statement. “We’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul.”
There is a problem with this line of thought:
The subject of Google’s ideological bent came up at the most recent shareholder meeting, in June. A shareholder asked executives whether conservatives would feel welcome at the company. Executives disagreed with the idea that anyone wouldn’t.
“The company was founded under the principles of freedom of expression, diversity, inclusiveness and science-based thinking,” Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt said at the time. “You’ll also find that all of the other companies in our industry agree with us.”
Going back to basics, political correctness aside, Google requires the best talent in the world to maintain its commanding position, and needs to recruit them away from rivals, and then keep them motivated to work their butts off. That’s why they provide those free gourmet meals and massages. But telling the males of that talent pool that they must think only one way, and that there are too many of them already anyway, is not doubleplus good, as Orwell would put it. Engineers, after all, are people who are required to think clearly and logically.
There is every reason for the top management of Google and its parent Alphabet to assume that they can have their way selling self-contradictory Orwellian nonsense to the public, the global IT talent pool, and even federal and state courts. After all, they control what comes up when people, including especially journalists, perform internet searches. They can afford the best PR pros and best lawyers in the world. Visionaries that succeed on a spectacular scale tend to develop a bit of hubris. They have been so right so often that it’s the inevitable human temptation.
My heart hopes that Mr. Danmore is able to make a case against Google and pursue a lawsuit. I do not know enough about employment law to express an opinion on the potential for success. Of course, Google could short circuit the controversy by settling with Danmore for far less than the legal expense of fighting him.