Internal Reactions to Google Employee’s Manifesto Show Anti-Diversity Views Have Support

"More people have been agreeing with it than I would like.”

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Aug 5 2017, 11:25pm

Afbeelding: Shutterstock

Saturday morning, we reported the existence of an anti-diversity manifesto written by a Google software engineer that was shared widely within the company. This afternoon, Gizmodo published the full text of the document, which argues that Google's gender disparities can be explained by biological differences between men and women.

While the document itself contains the thoughts of one employee, responses to the document from other Google employees show that some people at the company share the same beliefs.

"Honestly, more people have been agreeing with it than I would like," a current Google employee who spoke to Motherboard on the condition of anonymity told us. Motherboard is granting Google employees anonymity because of the company's notoriously strict confidentiality agreement. The employee said the comments they saw came in internal company email threads.

"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,'" the employee said.

Motherboard spoke to one current employee who agrees with the document's author, who wrote in the manifesto that "Google's left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence."

"The fact that colleagues are calling for him to be fired—on very public forums—proves his point that there is an ideological silo and that dissenting opinions want to be silenced," the second employee told Motherboard. "Why don't they debate him on his argument? Because it's easier to virtue signal by mentioning on a social network how angry and offended you are. Debate and discussion takes time."

In addition to the email threads, Google employees have discussed the memo on Blind, an app where tech employees can chat anonymously about workplace issues. Google staff created a thread specifically for discussing the manifesto, according to an additional current employee at Google who shared screenshots of the thread with us.

In order to join Blind, users must register with a corporate email address (in this case, an @google.com email address) and are then given access to company-specific Blind threads as well as larger, quasi-public threads open to employees of various tech companies. While it's possible for people to continue using Blind as Google employees after they've left the company, Motherboard confirmed that, in order to access the Google Doc document containing the manifesto itself, an active Google.com email address was necessary.

"This is actually terrifying: if someone is not ideologically aligned with the majority then he's labeled as a 'poor cultural fit' and would not be hired/promoted," one person claiming to be a Google employee wrote in the private Blind thread, seemingly referring to outrage within the company about the manifesto. "Eric [possibly referring to Eric Schmidt, executive chairman at Google] somewhere said that Google has the lowest percentage of conservatives and I think this post underlines the institutionalized discrimination that led to this extreme lack of intellectual diversity."

"I'm impressed. It took serious guts to post that," wrote another. "I hope nothing happens to the guy."

"We should all go and respond with support," another replied. "The more the supporters, the safer he is."

"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 is the way I like it. Go find another company that doesn't value diversity," another said in response.

"The author is an idiot, grasping at pseudoscience to justify sexism. It's a struggle for anyone who's approached the issue with an open heart to read like this," another commenter wrote.

"...remember, you can't be racist against whites and can't be sexist against men. Because equality!" another person wrote in the internal Blind thread.

"So diversity and inclusion actually means that having a divergent opinion results in exclusion? That's the very definition of hypocrisy," another wrote.

Similar comments were also posted to a larger Blind thread open to tech employees from various companies. Motherboard gained access to the thread, which contained opinions ranging from outright rejection of the manifesto to views that sympathized with its author.

A screenshot from a quasi-public Blind thread discussing the manifesto. Image: screenshot

On Twitter, some current and former Google employees condemned the document and its author. While the manifesto represents just one person's opinions, these employees indicate that the manifesto is indicative of a larger problem at the company.

Google's new Vice President of Diversity, Integrity & Governance, Danielle Brown, has now responded to the document, in a memo to employees obtained by Motherboard from a Google worker. When reached for comment, Google directed us to Brown's memo.