Fired Google engineer James Damore is standing by the controversial memo which lost him his job.
Damore said he wrote the memo, which criticises Google’s approach to diversity, after attending one of the company’s diversity programmes and finding it “secretive” and “shaming.”
Damore made the comments in his first major interview since being fired, to alt-right YouTube personality Stefan Molyneux.
You can watch the full 45-minute interview below.
Damore said: “I went to a diversity programme at Google, it was … not recorded, totally secretive. I heard things that I definitely disagreed with in some of our programmes. I had some discussions there, there was lots of just shaming, and ‘No you can’t say that, that’s sexist’ and ‘You can’t do this.’
“There’s just so much hypocrisy in the things they are saying. I decided to create the document to clarify my thoughts.”
Damore lost his job on Monday after a turbulent 72 hours at Google. The saga began when he released the memo internally, titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” which took issue with the firm’s purported left-wing, progressive bias and the effectiveness of its main diversity programmes.
The document is dated July, but was leaked to journalists on Sunday after more Googlers read the document and took to Twitter to express their disgust. Damore was fired after CEO Sundar Pichai described his views as “offensive” and “not OK.”
During the interview, he revealed that he wrote the memo to fill his time during a 12-hour work flight to China.
He also said he had had more messages of support than criticism.
He said: “There may be a lot of negative responses in the public. But very few of them actually send me messages. They just want to virtue signal to all their followers, ‘I’m a great person, I share your morals. This person is bad.’ But they don’t really want to have a debate on why I’m wrong, or even confront me, they just want to show how self-righteous they are.
“I’ve gotten a tonne of personal messages of support which has been really nice. I got that at Google before all of this leaked. Lots of upper management was shaming me.”
Damore has been mostly silent over the last four days, only confirming that he plans to take legal action against Google. On Monday, he filed a complaint with US federal labor officials.
During the interview, he continued to back his viewpoints from the memo. At one point he said: “I’m not saying any female engineers are in any way worse than the average male engineer.” But that message might be compromised by the fact that his interviewer Molyneux has published videos with titles such as “Why Feminists Hate Men: What They Won’t Tell You!” and “Why Feminism Hurts Women: What They Won’t Tell You!“
Damore said he was also prompted to write the memo by other Google staff “not in this groupthink” who felt “isolated and alienated”. He said more Conservative employees were thinking of leaving Google because its supposed left-wing bias was “getting so bad.”
“I really thought it was a problem Google itself had to fix,” he said. “Hopefully they do.”
Damore didn’t comment on any legal action against Google, nor what he plans to do next.