An anonymous note accusing Google of embracing diversity while chilling intellectual freedom has unleashed a flood of divergent opinions and proves not everyone inside the tech giant toes the company line.
The 10-page memo, written by a male engineer and widely shared internally, was eventually leaked to Gizmodo. In it, the author slams the tech giant’s “left bias” for having created a “politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence.”
The engineer, who has not been identified publicly, argues that gender disparities in Google’s workforce can be explained by biological differences between men and women. The memo asserts Google should replace its existing diversity efforts with policies to allow for more “ideological diversity.”
In a recent annual report the company made public, 69% of Google’s employees were revealed as male and 55% of its employees were white.
Reaction to the memo, pro and con, has been vehement.
“From what I've seen it's been a mix of women saying, 'This is terrible and it's been distracting me from my work and it shouldn't be allowed;' Men and women saying 'this is horrible but we need to let him have a voice;' and men saying 'This is so brave, I agree,'” one current Google employee told Motherboard.
The company’s VP for Diversity, Integrity and Governance, Danielle Brown, swiftly rebuked the anonymous engineer’s memo:
“Many of you have read an internal document shared by someone in our engineering organization, expressing views on the natural abilities and characteristics of different genders, as well as whether one can speak freely of these things at Google. And like many of you, I found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender. I'm not going to link to it here as it's not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.”
According to Motherboard, some employees wrote messages of support for the memo’s author, including this one:
“The fella who posted that is extremely brave. We need more people standing up against the insanity. Otherwise 'Diversity and Inclusion' which is essentially a pipeline from Women's and African Studies into Google, will ruin the company," another comment in the thread said.
The company’s diversity chief also addressed Google’s perceived lack of ideological diversity:
“We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company,” Brown wrote. “Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.”
The memo also led a range of current and former tech employees to tweet, pen their own essays and call out the engineer who wrote it.