Google Responds to a Sexist Internal Memo Circulating Through the Company

\"Diversity and inclusion are critical to our success.\"
\"Diversity and inclusion are critical to our success.\"  

On Friday, a male Google employee released over the company's email list a ten-page document railing against the company's culture of political correctness, taking aim in particular at the concept of diversity and representation in tech by suggesting that inherent differences between the sexes essentially meant women weren't that good with computers.

Motherboard first reported on the document's existence on Saturday, kicking off a frenzy of internal activity and scathing commentary from outside the company. Within hours, two executives at Google, including the company's new head of diversity, Danielle Brown, responded, after Gizmodo obtained and published in-full the rambling, lightly-sourced screed.

The document's general point is that differences in equal pay between the sexes are more a result of "biological differences" between men and women, and that in focusing on maintaining equality and increasing diversity, Google is "alienating conservatives" and harming its own company culture by discriminating against men. The employee has not been named, but he allegedly works under Ari Balogh, Google's VP of Storage Infrastructure products. On Saturday, Balogh responded to with an internal Google + post:

Balogh's response, interestingly, was more explicit that Brown's. Balogh directly mentioned that the anti-diversity employee's writing focused overwhelmingly on generalizations about men and women and reflected a stereotype-filled outlook on a binary concept of gender. Interestingly, the manifesto also overwhelmingly focused on the perceived effects of allowing more women into the software design and programming workforce, but did not address the disproportionate ethnic makeup of tech jobs in Silicon Valley, where minority men (presumably, according to the manifesto's author, with the same brainpower as their persecuted white counterparts) are severely underrepresented.

"Nothing about why black and Hispanic men aren't software engineers?" Charles Isbell, a black professor who is the executive associate dean of the Georgia Tech College of Computing, told the Atlantic., which notes that he was paraphrasing Duke's Jeffrey R.N. Forbes, another black computer scientist. "Did I glaze over that bit?"

Brown, a Caucasian woman, took a relatively middle-of-the-road response to the document. Brown said the document was "not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages," but unlike Balogh, she didn't allude to any of the logical failures of the original document. Here's Brown's statement in full.

Kara Swisher, a veteran Silicon Valley journalist and the founder and editor of Recode said what neither Brown nor Balogh could, calling the document "sexist twaddle, wrapped in the undeserved protection of free speech." The First Amendment goes both ways, she explained.

Photos via Getty Images / Brendan Hoffman, Google Careers

Written by Jack Crosbie

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