Google cancels townhall meeting about controversial anti-diversity memo


MOUNTAIN VIEW — Google CEO Sundar Pichai canceled an employee townhall meeting on Thursday about a controversial anti-diversity memo written by a fired employee because of online harassment concerns, the company said.

Questions from company’s employees about gender issues were being leaked outside of the company, raising concerns about online harassment.

“Googlers are writing in, concerned about their safety and worried they may be ‘outed’ publicly for asking a question in the Town Hall,” Pichai wrote in an email to staff. “In recognition of Googlers’ concerns, we need to step back and create a better set of conditions for us to have the discussion.”

He said that in the coming days the company will find forums where Google employees can speak freely and comfortably about the issue.

Software engineer James Damore was fired Monday after he wrote a post criticizing Google’s diversity initiatives. The post, which claimed that women were suited for certain jobs because of biological differences with men, sparked a backlash in Silicon Valley.

Pichai was scheduled to answer questions at a townhall at 4 p.m. on Thursday.

The company is also being targeted in protest march expected this month by the alt-right. Recode reported that some of the names of Google employees appeared on alt-right sites.


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