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Fired engineer on being a conservative at Google: 'It's like being gay in the 1950s’

Catherine Clifford
Fired engineer on being a conservative at Google: 'It's like being gay in the 1950s’

Fired Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) software engineer, James Damore, says being conservative and working at the tech behemoth is "like being gay in the 1950s."

Damore, the author of the controversial anti-diversity memo, made the comparison in conversation with Business Insider.

He says he was fired for "wrong-think" and that anyone who has conservative viewpoints at Google "are currently marginalized."

"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 closet as a conservative," Damore tells Business Insider.

Damore wrote a 10-page memo claiming the gender gap in tech is a due to biological differences between men and women, not discrimination. The internal memo went viral in early August.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the memo violated the company's Code of Conduct by "advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace."

"To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK," says Pichai in an email sent to staff, obtained by Recode. "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 believes he was fired because his views did not match those of the majority at Google.

"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."

Damore's claim that being conservative is like being gay in the 1950's ired prominent tech journalist Kara Swisher, the executive editor of Recode, who is herself gay.

"Were you forced into electroshock therapy? No? Were you thrown out of your family? No? Did you lose custody of kids? No? Beaten?" Swisher says, tweeting in response to the story.

She says the comparison is unfair because it misrepresents the severity of the discrimination gay people faced. "It's like comparing yourself to a political prisoner when you get arrested for jaywalking."

Damore intends to sue Google for the way he was fired.

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See also:

Women are neurotic, diversity efforts are 'bad for business' and 10 other shocking quotes from the viral Google manifesto

Melinda Gates: It's time to get real about breastfeeding at work

Wharton's Adam Grant eviscerates viral Google memo: Differences between men and women are slim to none



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