Ads critical of Google’s decision to fire an engineer over a diversity memo are appearing all over Venice near the company’s office.
One of the unofficial advertisements shows the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs with the accompanying phrase “Think different.” Right underneath that image is a picture of Google CEO Sundar Pichai saying “not so much.”
Someone is in Venice is not happy about Google’s firing of that memo guy. These are all over Santa Monica and Venice. pic.twitter.com/gHU6ihfMWl
— Alex Rubalcava (@AlexRubalcava) August 11, 2017
Another one uses the same tagline “Think Different,” but instead of the two tech leaders, there are just the logos of the two respective companies. “Get Hired” is featured next to Apple’s insignia, while “Get Fired” is positioned next to Google’s.
Both forms of conspicuous critique have apparently been spotted at bus stops and on park benches.
Alex Rubalcava, a seed startup investor according to his Twitter bio, said there were even more advertisements, but he didn’t have time to take pictures of them all.
The public displays of condemnation transpired just days after Google fired an employee who wrote a lengthy memo blasting the company’s ostensible focus on diversity.
Damore suggested the company “stop alienating conservatives,” “stop restricting programs and classes to certain genders or race,” “confront Google’s biases,” and “be open about the science of human nature,” among other recommendations.
In his own missive sent out to employees Tuesday following the firing, Pichai said that “people must feel free to express dissent,” but that portions of Damore’s written lecture crossed the line “by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” Pichai had to cancel a Thursday meeting that was set to discuss diversity and the firing of Damore due to safety concerns.
The whole ordeal has apparently caused a schism within the company, as 56 percent of 441 surveyed employees opposed their company’s decision to fire Damore, according to an informal poll. The advertisements in a way act as a manifestation of such backlash.
* * *
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.”
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.