The male Google engineer fired for circulating a memo decrying the company's diversity hiring program became the center of a heated debate on diversity. Fred Katayama reports.
Google fired a male engineer, James Damore, for what it called "advancing harmful gender stereotypes" in a memo he wrote. In that memo posted on an internal Google message board, Damore wrote that men, in general, may be biologically more suited to coding jobs than women, and that gender diversity shouldn't be a goal. He also stated that his employer was hostile to conservative viewpoints and shaped by a flawed left-wing ideology. Bernice Ledbetter leads the leadership program at Pepperdine University's business school: (SOUNDBITE) DR. BERNICE LEDBETTER, DIRECTOR OF MASTER OF SCIENCE IN LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT PROGRAM, GRAZIADIO SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT, PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It seems to me he wanted attention. So, he used his Google email, and he sent this out broadly. So, I think, he wanted to generate a lot of attention, which he has, and, I think, that it is important to note that, by doing this, he's making a bold declaration to his organization and to organizations probably worldwide. So, had he stayed quiet, you know, had he not said anything, but still acted on his values, it actually would be worse. So, by sort of coming out, if you will, now the organization understands and knows, there's a pocket of misalignment in our organization, something that we need to address. So, I think, that, while it's disturbing, it's going to be helpful for the organization." Google's chief executive Sundar Pichai told employees in a note that James Damore violated the company's code of conduct. Damore said he was exploring a possible legal challenge. He also accused Google's upper management of trying to shame him into silence.