Anti-Google ads pop-up in public places after Google fires James Damore

More than 60 current and former Google employees allege the tech giant of sexism and pay disparities against women. —AFP  File

The ads appear to be related to the saga of James Damore, the Google engineer who was sacked earlier this week after writing a 3,000-word essay criticizing Google's diversity policies in which he suggested that biological differences in women could make them less suited to work at Google. The tech industry is already beset by accusations of widespread sexism and discrimination, and suddenly here was someone arguing that genetic differences rather than bias alone might explain why there are more men than women in tech jobs.

Google has drawn severe criticism over firing James Damore as several anti-Google Ads have popped-up in public places across the streets of Venice.

Google's CEO had originally planned to address some of these issues at an all-hands meeting Thursday, but he canceled the meeting at the last minute due to concerns about leaks and employees being threatened and harassed online.

In late June, Google announced the hiring of Danielle Brown as its new head of diversity.

In an email seen by Reuters on Thursday, Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said some company employees were being named personally on websites in relation to the incident. "For many, including myself, working at Google is a major part of their identity, nearly "like a cult" with its own leaders and saints, all believed to righteously uphold the sacred motto of "Don't be evil", the former-Google employee wrote.

Employees across Silicon Valley are deeply divided about Google's move, according to a survey conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday by Blind, an anonymous corporate chat app. With free food, internal meme boards and weekly companywide meetings, Google becomes a huge part of its employees' lives.

"Googlers are writing in, concerned about their safety and anxious they may be "outed" publicly for asking a question in the Town Hall", Pichai told employees, explaining his decision to cancel the all-hands meeting.

More news: Asian markets suffer bloodbath over escalating US, North Korea tensions

Damore has emerged as a hero of conservative media. Damore's firing has sparked a furious debate both within and outside Google, with the alt-right reportedly outraged and even calling for a boycott of Google. Fired4Truth, widely believed to be Damore's Twitter account, hit 35,000 followers in a matter of days.

Google is now defending itself from a lawsuit from the US Department of Labour which is alleging that the company systematically discriminates against women.

The female employees of the tech giant contend that they have earned less than men at Google despite equal qualifications and comparable positions, the report quoted James Finberg, the civil rights attorney working on the possible legal action on behalf of the employees, as saying.

"For many, including myself, working at Google is a major part of their identity, nearly like a cult with its own leaders and saints, all believed to righteously uphold the sacred motto of 'Don't be evil, ' he wrote". And some are anxious that you can not speak out at work freely.

For those not following along, Damore, a senior engineer at the world's biggest search engine, wrote a memo about a month ago entitled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber".

"I am a moderately conservative Googler", one employee wrote, "and I am and have been scared to share my beliefs. What is leadership doing to ensure Googlers like me feel invited and accepted, not just tolerated or safe from angry mobs?"

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