The engineer Google fired over a diversity memo spoke out about the company in a Wall Street Journal essay on Friday, characterizing the work environment as an “intense echo chamber” that doesn’t allow for debate.
James Damore, author of the leaked memo, said his firing from the company demonstrated how Google has an “ideological echo chamber” that doesn’t allow for diversity of thought.
“My 10-page document set out what I considered a reasoned, well-researched, good-faith argument, but as I wrote, the viewpoint I was putting forward is generally suppressed at Google because of the company’s ‘ideological echo chamber,'” he wrote. “My firing neatly confirms that point. 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 argued in his op-ed that the company didn’t have a problem with the memo when it was first released; he was able to have reasonable discussions with his colleagues until the memo went viral and people began accusing him of misogyny.
“They sent angry emails to Google’s human-resources department and everyone up my management chain, demanding censorship, retaliation and atonement,” Damore wrote. “Upper management tried to placate this surge of outrage by shaming me and misrepresenting my document, but they couldn’t really do otherwise: The mob would have set upon anyone who openly agreed with me or even tolerated my views.”
Google CEO Sundar Pichai fired Damore earlier this week on the grounds he perpetrated “harmful gender stereotypes.”
Damore’s leaked memo argued that biological and psychological differences between men and women could explain why there are more men in tech positions. His memo sought to find ways to address this disparity, and called for more diversity of thought.
Damore warned his former employer in the essay not to silence diversity of thought and open discussions in the future as it might prevent them from being able to addressing issues within their own company.
“It saddens me to leave Google and to see the company silence open and honest discussion. If Google continues to ignore the very real issues raised by its diversity policies and corporate culture, it will be walking blind into the future—unable to meet the needs of its remarkable employees and sure to disappoint its billions of users,” he wrote.
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