Google forced to cancel gender memo meeting

August 14, 2017
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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during the presentation of new Google hardware in San Francisco, California, U.S. October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach - RTSQQJD

Google has cancelled a company-wide “town hall” meeting due to fears of employee harassment.

The meeting was planned to allow Google staff to discuss an internal memo regarding gender roles at the company.

James Damore, an engineer at Google, was fired on Monday after his 3,000-word essay, which argued that biological differences were responsible for gender disparity, provoked heated discussion.

Confirming his dismissal at the time, Mr Damore said that he had been sacked for “perpetuating gender stereotypes” – causing a number of internet trolls to attach themselves to his sacking.

These trolls have now led to a Google meeting regarding the memo being cancelled, as staff fear they will be targeted for taking part.

“We had hoped to have a frank, open discussion today as we always do to bring us together and move forward,” the business’ chief executive Sundar Pichai wrote in an email.

However after questions being proposed for discussion were leaked, employees reported that they were being named on websites supportive of Mr Damore.

“Googlers are writing in, concerned about their safety and worried they may be ‘outed’ publicly for asking a question in the town hall,” he explained.

“TL;DR Sorry for the late notice but we are going to cancel today’s Town Hall,” the CEO wrote.

“In recognition of Googlers’ concerns, we need to step back and create a better set of conditions for us to have the discussion.

“So in the coming days we will find several forums to gather and engage with Googlers, where people can feel comfortable to speak freely. We’ll share details soon.”