A 10-page anti-diversity manifesto penned by a Google employee has resulted in a widespread backlash within the tech giant, as well as among others on the internet. The manifesto, whose existence was first reported by Motherboard and Gizmodo, reportedly argues that women are underrepresented in the tech industry not due to discrimination but because of inherent psychological differences between men and women, including "neuroticism".
The unnamed employee's manifesto, which comes amid Google battling a wage-discrimination probe by the US Department of Labor, has reportedly sparked an internal debate among staffers. In an internal memo obtained by Motherboard, Danielle Brown, Google's new VP of Diversity, Integrity & Governance, told the staff: "It's not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages."
However, within the tech giant, responses to the manifesto are varied. Some employees have also reportedly expressed concerns over the extent of support the document has generated among some staffers. "Honestly, more people have been agreeing with it than I would like," a current, unnamed Googler told Motherboard on the condition of anonymity.
"From what I've seen it's been a mix of women saying, 'This is terrible and it's been distracting me from my work and it shouldn't be allowed;' Men and women saying 'this is horrible but we need to let him have a voice;' and men saying 'This is so brave, I agree,'" the employee said.
Another current Google employee voiced his agreement with the contents of the document. "Google's left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence. The fact that colleagues are calling for him to be fired — on every public forum—proves his point that there is an ideological silo and that dissenting opinions want to be silenced," the second employee said. "Why don't they debate him on his argument? Because it's easier to virtue signal by mentioning on a social network how angry and offended you are. Debate and discussion takes time."
Motherboard reported that Blind, an app which Google employees use to chat anonymously, has several responses from Google's staff that laud the author of the manifesto on his views. "I'm impressed. It took serious guts to post that," wrote another on Bind. "I hope nothing happens to the guy."
"The fella who posted that is extremely brave. We need more people standing up against the insanity. Otherwise 'Diversity and Inclusion' which is essentially a pipeline from Women's and African Studies into Google, will ruin the company," another comment in the thread said.
However, Brown said in her memo: "We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we'll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul."
"Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws."
One of the most blistering criticisms of the manifesto was written by a former Google engineer Yonatan Zunger, who recently left the company.
"Essentially, engineering is all about cooperation, collaboration, and empathy for both your colleagues and your customers. All of these traits which the manifesto described as "female" are the core traits which make someone successful at engineering," Zunger wrote in a post.
"What you just did was incredibly stupid and harmful. I need to be very clear here: not only was nearly everything you said in that document wrong, the fact that you did that has caused significant harm to people across this company, and to the company's entire ability to function," Zunger said.
"I am no longer even at the company and I've had to spend half of the past day talking to people and cleaning up the mess you've made. I can't even imagine how much time and emotional energy has been sunk into this, not to mention reputational harm more broadly. You have just created a textbook hostile workplace environment."