San Francisco: Google CEO Sunder Pichai has reportedly cut his vacation short to deal with the crisis over an anti-diversity “manifesto” that went viral inside the company and infuriated thousands of employees.
The tech giant has also reportedly fired the engineer who wrote the 10-page memo, which claimed that “the representation gap between men and women in software engineering persists because of biological differences between the two sexes”.
According to a report in CNNMoney on Tuesday, Pichai condemned portions of the controversial memo that argued that women are not “biologically fit” for tech roles.
Pichai said parts of the 3,300-word ‘manifesto’ crossed the line by “advancing harmful gender stereotypes” in the workplace.
“Our job is to build great products for users that make a difference in their lives,” he wrote in an email.
“To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK. Clearly there’s a lot more to discuss as a group, including how we create a more inclusive environment for all,” Pichai added.
The Google CEO also said that there are employees who are questioning whether they can safely express their opinions, especially ones that might fall into a minority.
“They too feel under threat and that’s not OK. People must feel free to express dissent,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, media reported on Tuesday that the engineer, identified as James Damore who wrote the manifesto, has been fired.
According to the Guardian, a Google spokesperson declined to comment on these reports.
On Saturday, online news website Motherboard reported that an anti-diversity manifesto, written by a Google engineer, suggested that the company should halt initiatives aimed at increasing gender and racial diversity within the company and instead focus on “ideological diversity”.
It also said Google should not offer programmes for under-represented racial or gender minorities.
Danielle Brown, Google’s new Vice President of Diversity, Integrity and Governance, later issued a statement to Google employees in response to the viral memo.
“I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes. When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions,” she said.