James Damore, the software engineer who
recent lost his job at Google over a controversial memo, this week
compared being a conservative at the tech giant to “being gay in
Damore told Business
Insider that conservatives at Google are forced to “stay in
the closet” and that he was fired for “wrong-think.”
“I was simply trying to fix the
culture in many ways. And really help a lot of people who are
currently marginalized at Google by pointing out these huge biases
that we have in this monolithic culture where anyone with a
dissenting view can’t even express themselves. Really, it’s like
being gay in the 1950s,” he said.
“These conservatives have to stay in
the closet and have to mask who they really are. And that's a huge
problem because there's open discrimination against anyone who comes
out of [the] closet as a conservative.”
In his 10-page memo, Damore claims that
the gender gap in the tech sector is due to biological differences
between men and women, not discrimination.
Google said that Damore was fired
because he violated the company's Code of Conduct.
“To suggest a group of our colleagues
have trails that make them less biologically suited to that work is
offensive and not OK,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in an
email to employees. “It is contrary to our basic values and
our Code of Conduct, which expects each Googler to do their utmost
to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment,
intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination.”
Damore said that he was fired because
he holds minority views.
“There is a dominant ideology at
Google, and anyone who dissents against that is either shamed or
ostracized. And when it became apparent that I wasn't backing down
to the shame, they had to fire me,” he said.
Out tech journalist Kara Swisher, the
executive editor of Recode.com, fired back on Twitter: “Were you
forced into electroshock therapy? No? Were you thrown out of your
family? No? Did you lose custody of kids? No? Beaten?”
“It's like comparing yourself to a
political prisoner when you get arrested for jaywalking,” she added
in a separate tweet.