Julian Assange Sides With Fired Google Engineer
WikiLeaks founder condemns 'censorship' over anti-diversity memo, offers him a job
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2017 12:49 PM CDT
Julian Assange greets supporters outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on May 19.   (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

(Newser) – The Google engineer who got fired for writing an anti-diversity memo won't be out of a job long if he so wishes. Julian Assange of WikiLeaks tweeted a job offer Tuesday, reports the Telegraph. "Censorship is for losers," he wrote, adding that WikiLeaks "is offering a job to fired Google engineer James Damore." Assange wasn't expressing support for Damore's views so much as objecting to Google's reaction. "Women & men deserve respect," he tweeted. "That includes not firing them for politely expressing ideas but rather arguing back." Related coverage:

  • The memo: Read Damore's memo in full here. Among other things, he says Google's push for diversity in the workplace is resulting in a lower-quality workforce, and he suggests the gender gap in tech has its roots in "biological causes," not discrimination. Another key point: He says Google "leans left" and silences opposing views internally.
  • Free speech: For Google and other companies, the controversy raises thorny free-speech issues in regard to workers. As one legal expert puts it to the Wall Street Journal, "Are you going to discipline employees for speaking their minds, when you've created a platform that encourages it?"

  • Crossing the line: "Had the employee not belittled women's skills, I assume, he would not be let go," writes Kara Swisher at Recode. Indeed, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the memo violated company policy by "advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace." He added that "to suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK."
  • Anita Hill: In an op-ed at the New York Times, she runs through a litany of sexism problems in the tech industry and suggests it's time to stop waiting for Silicon Valley to fix itself. Instead: class-action lawsuits. "It's time women in tech consider taking advantage of the law to disrupt the industry once and for all."
  • Counterpoint: At the National Review, David French says the firing is "a direct assault on the American culture of free speech." He adds that it means workers' economic opportunities depend not just on talent but their political opinions. Breitbart, meanwhile, reports that left-leaning Google managers effectively blacklist colleagues who don't share their views.
  • More: In a widely shared tweet, Eric Weinstein of Peter Thiel's investment firm Thiel Capital wrote, "Stop teaching my girl that her path to financial freedom lies not in coding but in complaining to HR."
  • In other words: Josh Horwitz frames the whole debate nicely at Quartz: "Damore's proponents will argue that he was fired for questioning prevailing dogma about diversity and the best ways to improve it. His detractors, meanwhile, will argue that he set himself up for immunity by couching a sexist manifesto in the framing of ideological diversity."
  • About Damore: The 28-year-old had worked at Google since 2013, reports Newsweek. The Illinois native was a chess champ as a kid and went on to graduate with honors from the University of Illinois. He also pursued his doctorate in systems biology at Harvard, per Heavy.com, which rounds up details from his résumé and online posts.

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