Stephen Ellison

Google Engineer Sparks Controversy With Memo Criticizing Company's Diversity Programs

The tech giant, whose tech-sector employees are 70 percent male, has said it must improve the company's diversity programs and close pay gaps between men and women

A Google engineer ignited a firestorm of controversy this weekend after writing and releasing an internal memo criticizing the tech company's diversity programs.

The 10-page anti-diversity memo was first reported by Motherboard and published in full by Gizmodo on Saturday.

The memo argued that men are biologically better fit to work in the tech industry and be leaders in the workplace and characterized Google's gender equality efforts as misguided.

The memo went public after it was sent out Friday to Google to more than 40,000 employees. Then, when employees started tweeting about it Saturday, it started to attract a lot of attention.

In May, Google said publicly it had to improve the company's diversity programs and close pay gaps between men and women. Seventy percent of the company's tech-sector employees are men.

One Google employee responded to the memo with a tweet: "That garbage fire of a document is trash, and you are wonderful coworkers who I am extremely lucky to work with."

Another employee wrote: "Imagine working at Google, getting paid all that money, just to spend your time writing a disgusting manifesto and sending it to your peers."

Danielle Brown, Google's new vice president of diversity and inclusion, responded, saying, "We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company. ... We’ve continued to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul."

The man who wrote the memo also sounded off this weekend, saying there is sexism at work, but he added that some ideas are "too sacred to be honestly discussed" at Google.

He said the company needs to be more open to conservative ideals.

Kym McNicholas, community director of Extreme Tech Challenge, sent her thoughts to NBC Bay Area via email Sunday.

"I wouldn't give this engineer anything more than a reality check," she said. "It shows he feels threatened, and that's his own insecurity coming out." 

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