At a gathering last week, hundreds of Google staff members met to discuss something they claim is happening more frequently than ever: Company retaliation for criticism.
As Bloomberg reported Friday:
Two leaders of recent company protests said they’ve been mistreated by managers and collected similar stories from other workers at the world’s largest internet company. The claims of retaliation are the latest in a series of internal upheavals over issues ranging from the use of artificial intelligence for military purposes to executive misconduct and the rights of contract workers.
Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., once set an industry standard in Silicon Valley for being able to employ and then keep highly-skilled computer scientists. But in recent years, the company has suffered blemishes to its reputation — since it's become a Left-wing censorship machine aimed at muting conservative staffers and voices online, and has adopted an increasingly dictatorial management style.
In internal surveys, for example, employees say they are losing faith in Google’s senior leadership, as scores of coders refused to work on a Pentagon project last year (think Trump hate) and some resigned in protest, Bloomberg reported.
Then, last November, a number of Google staffers staged a walkout because of payouts given to executives who faced allegations of sexual assault.
Early last week, two organizers of the walkout — Meredith Whittaker and Claire Stapleton — wrote in an email that the company punished them over their anti-sexual harassment activism. They asked fellow staffers to join them Friday to share several stories of retaliation that they identified over the past week. As in past meetings, participants were able to watch via a video livestream and submit questions as well as comments.
“Now more than ever we need to reject retaliation, and reject the culture of fear and silence that retaliation creates,” said one email from the pair who organized the event, Bloomberg News reported. “The stakes are too high.”
As expected, a spokesperson for the company denied that any retaliation had taken place.
“We prohibit retaliation in the workplace and publicly share our very policy,” the spokeswoman, who was not identified, said in an emailed statement. “To make sure that no complaint goes unheard at Google, we give employees multiple channels to report concerns, including anonymously, and investigate all allegations of retaliation.” (Related: Google partners with China to dominate the world with online tyranny, censorship and communism agendas.)
But Whittaker, an artificial intelligence researcher at Google who co-founded a New York University-linked research organization known as AI Now, wrote to colleagues in an email saying she was told by the company to “abandon my work on AI ethics.”
And Stapleton, a marketing department staffer at YouTube, was informed she’d be taking medical leave she did not request and summarily demoted. The company “walked by my demotion, at least on paper,” she said after retaining an attorney. However, “the environment remains hostile and I consider quitting nearly every day.”
So much for Google’s founding motto, “Don’t be evil,” which has since by changed to “Do the right thing” by Alphabet.
As Google management at various levels continues to deny that any harassment or retaliation exists, a number of current and former staffers nonetheless took to social media to refute the refutations.
“I am grateful that I quit Google,” Liz Fong-Jones, a critic and engineer who left earlier this year wrote on Twitter, Bloomberg noted. “What Google has been doing to its employees is #NotOkGoogle.”
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” wrote Alex Hanna, who works in Google’s cloud division.