1. Google fires sexist employee but loses chance to engage with what it doesn’t agree with

Google fires sexist employee but loses chance to engage with what it doesn’t agree with

There is no doubt that James Danmore, a recently-fired Google engineer, drew deep from the well of sexism when he penned his now infamous manifesto that talked about how women were biologically not suited for engineering jobs and diversity policies were unfair.

By: | Published: August 11, 2017 5:24 AM
google, google employee, google diversity, google employee fired, danmore, google employee danmore ‘The company’s engagement with Danmore should have ended with making it clear that it didn’t stand with him and found his thoughts offensive. ‘

There is no doubt that James Danmore, a recently-fired Google engineer, drew deep from the well of sexism when he penned his now infamous manifesto that talked about how women were biologically not suited for engineering jobs and diversity policies were unfair. Peppered with Neanderthal-like stances on gender—women prefer dealing with people while men prefer dealing with things, women are predisposed to neuroticism, etc—Danmore’s missive read like an exposé of the prosaic sexist mind. So, when Danielle Brown, the company’s vice-president of diversity, integrity and governance, wrote to fellow Google employees that “it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages,” she had the point clear—Google didn’t subscribe to misogyny and sexism. CEO Sundar Pichai further buttressedthis, writing, “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.”

Where Google might have lost the plot is in firing Danmore. The company’s engagement with Danmore should have ended with making it clear that it didn’t stand with him and found his thoughts offensive. Handing him the pink slip instead is likely to project Google as an intolerant company, that will not just denounce views that it finds abhorrent, but also punish a person for airing them. To be sure, toxic views are likely to vitiate the work place and affect employee morale. But the company should have known better to delineate between toxic and Stone Age views. By firing Danmore, it has lost the chance to meaningfully engage with a view other employees likely harbour but don’t publicise. Conservatives who have called for a nuanced reading of Danmore’s letter believe Google doesn’t really value diversity; what it wants is uniformity. And if Danmore’s firing is largely perceived by its conservative employees as that, then it would have failed the ideals Brown wrote about: “Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values”.

  1. Bob Thebuilder
    Oct 12, 2017 at 2:19 am
    Hello. You forgot to mention that james was invited to a secret meeting where they wanted to discuss how to get more women into the company even if the male compe ion were better candidates. He dosagreed with these suggestions and mentions that this practise is illegal. He also devoted a sizable amout of his memo to making suggestilns as to how google could get more women onto the industry. Other than that , good work!
    Reply
    1. C
      Carol
      Aug 14, 2017 at 10:06 pm
      Why should google engage in unintelligent, harmful discourse? There are some things you should be intolerant of...this is not a difference in views as to if spider man is stronger than batman. This is a completely unfounded, hateful attack on human beings. Whenever you become tolerant of misogyny, bigotry and just plain stupidity you give it wings for it's entry into society where it will invariably find a host. The recent events in Charlottesville is testament to that fact. Like a forest fire, such ridiculous narratives you should stamp out immediately before the world becomes infected with stupidity and hate.
      Reply

      Go to Top