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Technology

Sacked Google Engineer James Damore’s Take On Why He Was Fired

James Damore opened up about his termination from Google after his diversity memo sparked outrage, in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal.

Former Google engineer James Damore, who was sacked from his job recently after his anti-diversity memo went viral, has offered his take on why he was fired in a Wall Street Journal opinion-editorial.

“My 10-page document set out what I considered a reasoned, well-researched, good-faith argument,” wrote Damore, “but as I wrote, the viewpoint I was putting forward is generally suppressed at Google because of the company’s “ideological echo chamber”.”

An echo chamber has to keep “dissent and opposition” in check, he added.

Whether it’s in our homes, online or in our workplaces, a consensus is maintained by shaming people into conformity or excommunicating them if they persist in violating taboos. Public shaming serves not only to display the virtue of those doing the shaming but also warns others that the same punishment awaits them if they don’t conform.

Writing that life at Google becomes “all-encompassing” – “some even live on campus”, he writes – Damore likened Google to a “cult with its own leaders and saints, all believed to righteously uphold the sacred motto of “Don’t be evil”.”

How did Google, the company that hires the smartest people in the world, become so ideologically driven and intolerant of scientific debate and reasoned argument? 

Damore wrote that Google risked “walking blind into the future”, being unable to meet the needs of its employees and disappointing its billion-strong user base if it continued “to ignore the very real issues raised by its diversity policies and corporate culture”.

In his now-infamous memo, Damore had suggested that men are biologically more predisposed to working in the technology industry than women. This sparked a controversy that eventually led to his termination on the grounds that parts of the memo violated Google’s code of conduct and it crossed “the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes” at the workplace.

In his note to employees, Google’s chief executive officer Sundar Pichai wrote in favour of expressing dissent – “especially those with a minority viewpoint” – but insisted that it had to happen “in line with our Code of Conduct”.