Julian Assange offers fired Google engineer a job

  • 09/08/2017

The male Google engineer fired for circulating a memo decrying the company's diversity hiring program has been offered a job by WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.

James Damore confirmed his dismissal on Tuesday (NZT), after he wrote a 10-page memo that the company was hostile to conservative viewpoints shaped by a flawed left-wing ideology.

The manifesto was quickly embraced by some, particularly on the political right, branding him a brave truth-teller. Others found his views, which argued that men in general may be biologically more suited to coding jobs than women, offensive.

Mr Assange, who is praised in some circles for exposing government secrets, and castigated by others as an underminer of some nations' security, offered Mr Damore a job.

"Censorship is for losers," Mr Assange wrote on Twitter. "Women & men deserve respect. That includes not firing them for politely expressing ideas but rather arguing back."

Legal and employment experts noted, however, that companies have broad latitude to restrict the speech of employees. Some argued that Mr Damore's views left Google little to no choice but to terminate his employment, since he had effectively created a hostile work environment for women.

The world's tech capital, Silicon Valley has long been criticised for not doing enough to encourage gender equality. Most headlines have centred on powerful female executives hitting the glass ceiling or sexual harassment lawsuits.

Many women in the industry say that less visible day-to-day bias often impedes their careers.

Industry experts note that in the early days of tech it was mostly women who held the then-unglamorous jobs of coding. But as the value of top-notch programming became clear, it became a mostly male domain and the vast majority of programmers in the tech industry are now men.

Mr Damore wrote in an email to Reuters he was fired for "perpetuating gender stereotypes." His memo had said that he sought the opposite.

"I'm also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles," he wrote in his memo. "I'm advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism)."