Google Abruptly Cancels Town Hall About That Memo

WIRED | 8/11/2017 | Nitasha Tiku
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Google CEO Sundar Pichai abruptly canceled a planned companywide meeting on Thursday intended to air concerns raised by a former employee's broadside against Google's diversity programs. The move came just minutes before the meeting was to start, as the company that aims to organize the world's information struggles to deal with reverberations from the memo and its decision to fire the author.

Thursday's town hall meeting was intended to allow Pichai to address employee questions about James Damore’s polarizing missive and his subsequent dismissal. But in a companywide email sent less than 45 minutes before the meeting was to start, Pichai said he had canceled it because proposed questions submitted by Google employees had "appeared externally" and some employees feared for their safety if they were " 'outed publicly' for asking a question."

TL - DR - Sorry - Notice - Today

"TL;DR Sorry for the late notice but we are going to cancel today’s Town Hall," Pichai wrote. The abrupt cancelation is unusual for Google, which prides itself on being transparent with employees but has generally been able to keep internal divisions within its walls.

Earlier Thursday, WIRED reported that Google employees had submitted more than 520 questions for the planned session, some critical of Damore's reasoning and conclusions, and others expressing concern that he had been fired for speaking his mind. More than 5,000 Google employees had used an internal tool to rank the questions they most wanted Pichai to answer.

Damore - Missive - Principles - Psychology - Women

Damore’s 10-page missive cited purported principles of evolutionary psychology to argue that women are not well-suited to be good engineers. Damore also complained that Google’s liberal bent and training programs have created an ideological echo chamber that makes it difficult to discuss such issues inside the company.

The resulting firestorm rippled across Google and Silicon Valley, leaving the company scrambling at times to keep pace. On Saturday, Google's new vice president...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
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