TECHNOLOGY

Google’s Diversity Chief Responds to Controversial Leaked Anti-Diversity Memo

An unnamed employee at the media giant wrote a 3,000-word document attributing gender inequality in the tech industry to biological differences.

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BY Emily Canal - 07 Aug 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Google executives denounced a controversial internal memo on Saturday that was sent days earlier by an employee. The 3,000-word document attributed gender inequality at Google and within the tech industry to biological differences.

"Distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don't see equal representation of women in tech and leadership," the unnamed engineer wrote in an essay that went viral within the company before leaking online.

The memo had been circulating on the internet several days before Google issued a response. Sources told Recode that some executives were struggling to decide whether they should allow the content or not. Danielle Brown, the company's recently hired vice president of diversity, integrity and governance, sent employees a memo on Saturday responding to the engineer's essay, saying the document contained "advanced incorrect assumptions about gender," and that it was not something that she "or this company endorses, promotes, or encourages."

"Given the heated debate we've seen over the past few days, I feel compelled to say a few words," Brown wrote in the statement. "Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture."

The memo controversy broke as the Department of Justice continues to investigate the internet giant for alleged gender-based pay discrimination. While Google has denied the charges, Silicon Valley companies have been criticized for how they handle sexual harassment and discrimination claims.