The former Google engineer, whose controversial memo has triggered a nationwide debate on gender differences and diversity efforts in technology, defended his views in an interview on Wednesday with Bloomberg Television, saying company executives are smearing him in its wake.
James Damore, who until Monday worked as an engineer on video and image search at Alphabet’s Mountain View, California, headquarters, said he initially shared the 3,300-word memo internally a month ago. But it was only after the memo went viral that company leaders banded together to make him an outcast, he said on Bloomberg TV. When he initially circulated the memo, “no one high up ever came to me and said, ‘No, don’t do this,’ even though there were many people who looked at it,” Damore said. “It was only after it got viral that upper management started shaming me and eventually firing me.”
The memo, which was leaked to the public over the weekend, argues that conservative viewpoints are suppressed at Google and that biological differences between men and women explain in part why so few women work in software engineering. Even if someone in Google management had agreed with some of the arguments put forth in his piece, they wouldn’t have felt safe speaking up, he said.
“There was a concerted effort among upper management to have a very clear signal that what I did was harmful and wrong and didn’t stand for Google,” Damore said. “It would be career suicide for any executives or directors to support me.”Damore also said that some Google employees who expressed support for him have been contacted by human resources.
“That’s absolutely untrue,“ a Google spokesman said about the claim. The company declined to comment further beyond a memo that Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai wrote to employees on Monday, which said that “to suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.”