It has been a wild week for Google in the wake of a controversy brought about by a hotly debated internal memo that called the nature of workplace diversity into question. Senior software engineer James Damore stirred up a veritable hornet’s nest with his manifesto. He had boldly stressed that the under-representation of women in tech-related fields was due simply to innate biological shortcomings in the female body. Google ended up firing Damore for his trouble, and then tried to organize a general town hall meeting with all employees on hand in order to discuss the issues raised by his memo.

Unfortunately the meeting, set for Thursday, ended up getting scrapped.

Meeting canceled

Google CEO Sundar Pichai called for the August 10 town hall to be able to address the damaging fallout of James Damore’s internal memo entitled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.” He had planned to address Google employees around the world over a global live-stream. However, with only a half-hour left before the official start of the all-hands assembly, Pichai sent a company-wide email to call everything off, The Verge reported. His stated reason was concern for the safety of Google employees should they decide to speak up at the meeting.

As Pichai wrote in the email, he has received worried messages from several “Googlers” expressing concern for their well-being, according to the New York Times.

As questions for the town hall have been leaked publicly, many employees were afraid that their queries could be construed as a public outing of their sentiments regarding diversity at Google. Unknown parties have also posted to right-wing websites the Twitter profiles of the most scathing critics of the Damore manifesto within Google – all either women, a trans, or a man of color (Pichai himself).

They, in turn, have been targeted on social media by alt-right pundits such as Breitbart News.

No more niceties

The latest drama plaguing Google started when the internal memo of James Damore, already in circulation the whole week prior, was publicly leaked on Friday August 4. While some quarters criticized the content, they were alternately disparaged by dissenters calling out the internet giant’s gender and racial bias while clamping down on conservative opinions like Damore’s.

As for the man who started it all, the former Google senior engineer has let go of all restraint in his attack of what he deems the company’s unreasonable diversity training practices. Damore now operates a new Twitter page wherein he compares the Google work environment to a Soviet-era labor camp, a “Goolag” as it were.

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