- Facebook/James Damore
The author of the controversial memo that caused Google to fire him has said he feels “betrayed” by the company and accused it of trying to “smear” him.
James Damore was fired after a memo he wrote, titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” caused outrage inside Google. CEO Sundar Pichai cut a vacation short and addressed the memo, describing it as offensive in a note Monday and calling Damore’s views “not OK.”
Damore told Bloomberg TV in an interview that aired Wednesday that “it really feels like they betrayed me in some way.”
“The whole point of my memo was actually to improve Google and Google’s culture,” Damore said. “They just punished me and shamed me for doing it.”
Damore’s memo was perhaps most criticized for suggesting that the gender gap in tech was in part caused by biological differences between men and women. But it has also drawn support from those focusing on its critique of what he called Google’s “left bias.”
Bloomberg TV host Emily Chang mentioned a blog post written by YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki about the memo. In it, Wojcicki suggested that the memo would not have generated any praise if it were about black or or Hispanic employees instead of women.
“I think that that’s a false analogy,” Damore said. “She’s trying to lump me in with racists and other bigots, which I’m not. I’m not a sexist, and I’m not a racist. That’s just trying to smear my image rather than actually looking at the evidence.”
The Bloomberg TV interview was Damore’s first appearance on a mainstream media outlet. He was previously interviewed by two YouTube personalities popular with right-wing viewers.
Chang asked whether Damore identified with the alt-right, an emerging online movement that rejects traditional conservatism.
“I don’t really identify with alt-right,” Damore said. “I’m more of a centrist. I don’t think we should have such a strong ideology that really divides different people. I think that there’s a lot more that we can do to bring people together. I’m very sympathetic to maybe some of the same struggles that especially some of the conservative people at Google face.”