After some former and current Google employees called for the tech giant to be excluded from this weekend’s Pride Parade in San Francisco, the event’s organizers say the company will participate.
In an article on Medium Tuesday, about 100 employees from Google urged event organizers to ban the company from marching in the pride parade festivities as well as drop it as a sponsor.
The move came after activists criticized Google’s response to homophobic and racist content on YouTube.
“We do not make this request without serious consideration of the alternatives. We have spent countless hours advocating for our company to improve policies and practices regarding the treatment of LGBTQ+ persons, the depiction of LGBTQ+ persons, and harassment and hate speech directed at LGBTQ+ persons, on YouTube and other Google products. Whenever we press for change, we are told only that the company will ‘take a hard look at these policies.’ But we are never given a commitment to improve, and when we ask when these improvements will be made, we are always told to be patient.”
We feel we have no choice but to urge you to reject Google’s failure to act in support of our community by revoking their sponsorship of Pride, and excluding Google from official representation in the Pride parade. If another official platform, YouTube, allows abuse and hate and discrimination against LGBTQ+ persons, then Pride must not provide the company a platform that paints it in a rainbow veneer of support for those very persons. On the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, in a Pride celebration whose very slogan is ‘Generations of Resistance,’ we ask you to join us in resisting LGBTQ+ oppression on the internet, and the subjugation of our right to equality in favor of calculated business concerns. The first Pride was a protest, and so now must this Pride be one.”
In response, SF Pride issued a statement, which in part reads:
“We appreciate the engagement of community members who reached out to San Francisco Pride with their concerns about Google. Google and YouTube can and must do more to elevate and protect the voices of LGBTQ+ creators on their platforms, and we’ve found that Google has been willing to listen to this criticism and is working to develop appropriate policies. They have acknowledged they have much work to do to promote respectful discussion and exchange of ideas.”
Google employees added in the Medium post:
“We ask that, even if you will not consider excluding Google so soon before Pride, that you will issue a determination, absent a real change in these policies and practices, and a strong position statement to that effect, that Google will not be permitted to sponsor or be officially represented in future San Francisco Pride celebrations."