Google CEO Sundar Pichai says he still believes that it was appropriate to fire James Damore. “I don’t regret it,” said Pichai, in an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher and MSNBC’s Ari Melber.
“It was the right decision,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, echoed onstage.
It’s been almost six months since the company dismissed the engineer, who authored a controversial memo about purported gender differences. In a 10-page rant, Damore made a series of claims arguing against Google’s diversity initiatives, some of which he incorrectly characterized as confirmed by science.
The decision to oust Damore received a lot of praise — and also a lot of condemnation. And now, Damore is threatening a class action lawsuit, alleging discrimination against what he labels as conservative views. (As a corporation, Google is within its legal rights to fire an “at-will” employee for just about anything, as long as they aren’t discriminating against a protected class.)
“The last thing we do when we make decisions like this is look at it with a political lens,” Pichai insisted. Ultimately, the company decided it was important for Google to “create a culture that is more supportive and inclusive of” women.
Wojcicki echoed that “if something violates our code of conduct, we should be able to take an action.” She said Damore’s writing struck a chord because she has devoted her career to technology and has encouraged other women to follow suit.
His remarks “just seemed to set us back so far in so many ways.”