Tech

Google Employees Protest Company’s Pro-Border Wall Board Member. Execs Stand Pat

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Chris White Tech Reporter

Google employees are circulating a petition protesting the Silicon Valley company’s decision to appoint a conservative woman who supports President Donald Trump’s border wall to its advisory board on artificial intelligence.

Employees want Google to rescind its decision to include Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James on the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC). More than 1,000 “Googlers” signed the Monday petition, which claims that James’s supposedly anti-immigrant positions run contrary to Google’s ethics.

“Google cannot claim to support trans people and its trans employees  —  a population that faces real and material threats  —  and simultaneously appoint someone committed to trans erasure to a key AI advisory position,” they claim, noting that James is critical of redefining gender. The petition also pushed back against the underlying reason for Google’s decision.

“This is a weaponization of the language of diversity,” the memo says of the company’s March 26 decision, which was made to diversify the board. James is a black woman who served in the George W. Bush administration. “By appointing James to the ATEAC, Google elevates and endorses her views, implying that hers is a valid perspective worthy of inclusion in its decision-making. This is unacceptable,” it continues.

Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google, gestures as he speaks during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 24, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Google has not yet responded to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment, but one source with information about the matter told Axios Tuesday that executives are not relenting. They like James’s support for free markets and the breadth of experience she has on technological issues. (RELATED: ‘Disrespectful’: Google Employees Melt Down Over The Word ‘Family)

James issued broad support in February for Trump’s border. “. declared a national emergency after Congress refused to act. We have a crisis at our border: thousands of illegal aliens, dangerous criminals, drug smugglers and sex traffickers crossing the border every day,” she said in a Feb. 26 tweet to her followers.

The petition comes after a DCNF report in January showed Google employees became furious at an executive after the person used the term “family” while discussing a product aimed at children. The backlash grew large enough that a Google vice president addressed the controversy and solicited feedback on how the company could become more inclusive.

This is not the only time employees have gotten their way. Google banned a video explaining Christian teaching on same-sex marriage from advertising on YouTube after backlash from upset employees, according to a separate DCNF report in March. The internal turmoil prompted a company president to ditch the advertisement.

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