A meeting to address the recent controversy surrounding “diversity” at Google was canceled Thursday after the company said trolls published the names of their employees online.
A group of right-wing bloggers allegedly published the names of Google employees who were expected to ask questions at the town hall-style event.
Google chief Sundar Pichai scheduled the meeting after engineer James Damore was fired.
In an email to all Google staff, Pichai explained that questions from employees had been leaked and that, in some cases, specific employees’ identities were revealed, exposing them to harassment and threats. Instead of the large-scale meeting which was to be live-streamed to Google’s 60,000 employees worldwide, smaller groups will meet at some time in the future.
“We had hoped to have a frank open discussion today as we always do to bring us together and move forward. But our Dory questions appeared externally this afternoon, and on some websites Googlers are now being named personally,” Pichai said in the email.
“All of your voices and opinions matter and I want to hear them,” he said.
Earlier in the day, questions began to be posted to Google’s internal message boards that were to be included in today’s planned meeting.
“Can we get an update on progress toward identifying leakers?” one employee posted, saying multiple Googlers had their team pages leaked to alt-right sites, resulting in at least one death threat.
“I am a moderately conservative Googler,” wrote one employee, “and I am and have been scared to share my beliefs. The loud voice here is a liberal one. Conservative voices are hushed. What is leadership doing to ensure Googlers like me feel *invited and accepted*, not just tolerated or safe from angry mobs?”
Another question asked how to combat Damore’s assertion that Google has a lower bar for diversity candidates. “This is hurting minority Googlers because it creates the perception they are less qualified,” an employee wrote.
Pichai, who said parts of Damore’s manifesto violated Google’s code of conduct, cut his vacation short to attend the scheduled meeting.
“Clearly there’s a lot more to discuss as a group — including how we create a more inclusive environment for all,” Pichai wrote in an email sent to employees on Tuesday.