The firing of Google engineer James Damore for suggesting men are more suited to technical roles than women has triggered a culture war inside the Internet giant, with some Google employees saying the company is not doing enough to protect them from a harassment campaign that has subjected them to hateful comments and violent threats.
These employees, many of whom volunteer as diversity advocates, say they've been targeted by some of their own coworkers for fighting to bring greater diversity to Google's 78,000-plus staff of mostly white and Asian men.
Their personal information and comments expressed in internal company forums have been leaked to the public and published on far-right websites, leading to mistreatment by online vigilantes. What's more, they say they've been subjected to doxing on 4Chan and Kiwi Farms after screenshots were included in the 161-page lawsuit Damore filed in January alleging Google discriminates against whites, conservatives and men.
Too little action from Google management drove them to speak publicly for the first time this week when they told their stories to Wired magazine. They say they are hopeful they can pressure the company into taking a stronger stance against the growing abuse and that they can help stop this kind of intimidation and bullying from happening at other tech companies.
"What we want is for our company to be a great place to work and for everyone to be able to do their job without having to worry they are going to get a death threat in their email," Google software engineer and diversity advocate Tariq Yusuf told USA TODAY.
Google says it has met with the affected employees and addressed direct threats.
"As we’ve said before, we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves, and an important part of our culture is lively debate. But like any workplace, that doesn't mean that anything goes," Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano said in a statement. "When we discover code of conduct violations, we take action, including termination of employment."