Photo by Ben Nuttall/Flickr.
By now, you’ve likely heard about James Damore, the Google engineer who wrote a ridiculously long memo (3,300 words, to be exact) about why, in his opinion, women are biologically ill-suited to work in the tech industry. Despite claiming to “value diversity and inclusion,” Damore wrote that women weren’t succeeding as much as their high-ranking male counterparts due to faults of their own — meekness and neuroses — as opposed to the industry’s systemic misogyny.
It’s unclear why Damore felt the need to share his unsolicited opinion with more than 40,000 Google employees last Friday. What is clear is that Google is not having it. According to The New York Times, Damore has since been fired for “advancing harmful gender stereotypes.” Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, told CNN via email, “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.”
But not everyone has followed Pichai’s lead in recognizing Damore’s memo as a long-winded exercise in pseudo-scientific ignorance. Apparently, several Google employees expressed support for his memo within the company’s internal messaging platform. And, outside of Google, he has received support from fringe groups that see him as a beacon of free speech and defender of beleaguered conservatives. Such is the case on the far-right fundraising website WeSearchr, where an anonymous group is raising funds from anonymous donors to “help James get back on his feet.”
Of course, it isn’t just about helping the senior engineer recover from going without the Google food court for two days. According to the campaign’s description, the idea is to help Damore collect enough funding to launch a lawsuit against his former employer as well. He may actually have a case, reports the Times, thanks to federal labor law protections for employees attempting to protect fellow colleagues. That being said, Google can also make the case Damore fostered a toxic environment for his female coworkers, who make up less than a third of Google’s staff.