Google CEO Pichai cancels 'town hall' on gender dispute

After employee questions for management began to leak online from the firm’s internal messaging service.

August 11, 2017 10:30 am | Updated 10:36 am IST - PALO ALTO (CALIFORNIA):

Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has canceled an internal town hall meant to address gender discrimination on Thursday after employee questions for management began to leak online from the company’s internal messaging service.

Mr. Pichai said in an email to staff that several Google employees became fearful for their safety and grew concerned about being outed for speaking up at the town hall.

The town hall was meant to hear out employee grievances over a flare-up that has consumed Google for much of the week. It began last weekend after engineer James Damore circulated a memo that claimed biological gender differences helped explain why women are under-represented at the company.

And he was fired

Google fired Mr. Damore on Monday. The engineer has claimed he had a right to voice concerns over workplace conditions and filed a labour relations board complaint prior to being fired.

Google’s internal “Dory” system allows employees to ask questions and then vote on questions posed by other employees so managers can address the most pressing ones. Wired magazine published some of the questions verbatim online Thursday. Screenshots of the questions with names attached had been leaked, although none with names had been published as of late Thursday, a Google spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, a graphic composed of the Twitter profiles of several Google employees who were gay, lesbian or transgender began to circulate online, assisted by conservative commentators such as former Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos . That graphic drew hundreds of negative comments about the people and the company.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.