Google’s chief executive, Sundar Pichai, issued a mea culpa of sorts as its employees around the world held walkouts to protest how the company had handled sexual harassment.
Google CEO’s mea culpa: Tech company boss admits ‘we clearly didn’t live up to our expectations’ after thousands of his employees walked out across the world over sexual harassment. Google workers around the globe walked out in mass protest against the protection of Andy Rubin last week.
Android’s mobile software creator was reportedly given a $90million exit package despite facing misconduct allegations that were reported to the company before her resigned and deemed credible
Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, admits ‘we didn’t always do it right’ but says ‘we are definitely doing our best’
Rubin is accused of coercing a woman into performing oral sex on him while in a hotel room in 2013
Google has fired 48 people over sexual harassment claims in the last two years, including 13 senior people
Thousands walked out of offices in cities across North America and Europe, and some even resigned
Pichai said that sexual harassment was ‘a societal problem and Google is a large comapany’
Google’s CEO has admitted ‘we didn’t always do it right’, but insists sexual harassment is a societal problem after the tech giant paid out $90m to a sex-pest executive.
Thousands of employees took part in a mass walkout, dubbed the ‘Walkout For Real Change,’ one week after Android software creator Andy Rubin was accused of coercing a woman into performing oral sex on him in a hotel in 2013, reported by the New York Times.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai took to the stage yesterday, ‘It’s been a difficult time here,’ he told the New York Times DealBook conference. ‘There’s been anger and frustration within the company. We all feel it. I feel it too. At Google, we set a very high bar, and we clearly didn’t live up to our expectations.’
Rubin denied the allegations in a tweet, saying the article contained ‘numerous inaccuracies’ and ‘wild exaggerations’.
But Rubin is believed to have received a considerable exit package in 2014, valued at approximately $90 million, and was also loaned $14 million in 2012 to buy a seaside villa in Japan at one per cent interest.
Pichai refused to confirm there was a toxic culture and said, ‘Moments like this show that we didn’t always get it right, and so we are committed to doing better.’
Google has fired 48 people over sexual harassment in the last two years, 13 of them senior, according to the Times.
Google X director Richard DeVaul and former senior vice president Amit Singhal were also named in the Times report, as alleged perpetrators of sexual misconduct.
Pichai told the audience at the Times conference, ‘Sexual harassment is a societal problem and Google is a large company,’ and added, ‘We are definitely doing our best.’
The demonstration was the latest expression of a year-long backlash which has rocked Pichai’s tenure after he became CEO in 2015.
Last year he was the subject of intense scrutiny after he fired a software engineer who had deigned to question Google’s diversity and gender equality strategy in an internal memo.
James Damore sued the tech company in January, while Pichai said: ‘Within the company we allow for a lot of people to speak up, but we have a code of conduct.’
The demonstration helped scupper Google’s Maven project to help the U.S. military scan battlefields using drones and artificial intelligence.
Workers have also protested Google’s plans to launch a censored search engine in China, and work by Amazon and Microsoft to assist police agencies and federal immigration agents with facial recognition and other tools.
‘These people are not easily replaceable and as a result they have a significant amount of power,’ said Kade Crockford, who tracks how new technology affects civil rights for the ACLU of Massachusetts.
As the mass protest moved to the west coast, Google employees gathered in the San Francisco Bay area where the main headquarters is located in Mountain View, and Los Angeles to protest the company culture.