The former Google employee who was fired after writing a memo critical of the company’s diversity initiatives is hitting back, saying the company is “almost like a cult.”
“For many, including myself, working at Google is a major part of their identity, almost like a cult with its own leaders and saints, all believed to righteously uphold the sacred motto of ‘Don’t be evil,’ ” James Damore wrote in an op-ed Friday in The Wall Street Journal.
“With free food, internal meme boards and weekly companywide meetings, Google becomes a huge part of its employees’ lives. Some even live on campus.”
Damore was fired on Tuesday after a memo he wrote arguing that the lack of women in tech fields is in part a due to women being more susceptible to “neuroticism” went viral.
In his op-ed, titled “Why I Was Fired by Google,” Damore said he was dismissed for challenging the company’s “echo chamber.”
“As I wrote, the viewpoint I was putting forward is generally suppressed at Google because of the company’s ‘ideological echo chamber,’ ” Damore 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 also warned that Google is heading for failure if it continues to “silence open and honest discussion.”
“It will be walking blind into the future,” he concluded, “unable to meet the needs of its remarkable employees and sure to disappoint its billions of users.”
Damore’s memo revived the debate over diversity in Silicon Valley.
But the former employee has also found support among some on the right, who say his firing shows how Silicon Valley silences dissenting voices.
Google declined to comment on Damore’s op-ed.