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Google CEO Sundar Pichai doesn’t have any regrets firing anti-diversity memo writer James Damore, according to a new interview. The embattled employee is now suing Google for discrimination.
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James Damore, now a former Google employee, caused a ruckus not too long ago when a memo he’d published internally got leaked for everyone to see. What exactly was written in that memo? Well, to sum it up, it basically argued that there may be biological differences between women and men that make the former less skilled engineers.
Naturally, the internet exploded. Many expressed rage, anguish, and rolled their eyes at the employee. On the other hand, Damore also received support from other groups — people who either purposefully simplified his arguments to make it a man vs. woman thing, or those legitimately upset over Google’s seemingly aggressive attempts to increase workforce diversity.
The Firing Of James Damore
Not long after the memo surfaced online, Google CEO Sundar Pichai fired him — and he has no regrets about doing so, despite the fact that Damore is now suing Google for allegedly discriminating against white men like him.
No Regrets, Said Sundar Pichai
“I don’t regret it,” said Pichai in an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher and MSNBC’s Ari Melber. The thing he does regret, he said, is that people thought the decision was based on political reasons. “I regret that people misunderstand that we made this decision because of a political belief one way or another.” He said he wished the public didn’t receive the news of Damore’s firing “in such a polarized way.”
In his essay, Damore criticized Google’s diversity efforts and argued that there were less women in higher engineering positions because there are certain biological traits they fail to possess, or they do possess — just not as potent as men’s. Google fired him shortly thereafter, stating that portions of his memo ran contrary to the company’s “basic values” and code of conduct.
Was It A Political Decision?
The dismissal sparked wide debate; some praised Google for handing down swift action, while some accused the search company of exercising its political correctness in a way that hindered free speech and diversity of ideas and perspectives.
But in the interview, Pichai said Google made the decision not because of politics, but because it prioritized the comfort and safety of its employees. Ultimately, it wanted to make sure that the company created “a culture that is more supportive and inclusive of” women.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, who was with Pichai during the interview, echoed his words, agreeing that firing Damore was the “right decision.”
“[I]f something violates our code of conduct, we should be able to take an action,” said Wojcicki.
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