Google fires author of memo on gender differences

James Damore, the Google engineer who wrote the note, confirmed his dismissal in an email, saying that he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” He said he’s “currently exploring all possible legal remedies.”

I think he’ll have a really difficult time finding another job in Silicon Valley.



  • He’ll probably land at Uber.

  • Or the Trump adminstration.

  • walterunderwood
  • satcomer

    To me politics have no meaning in Silicon Valley! He is probly more of a Libertrian roots.

    • Mo

      Politics drive everything. Libertarians are not somehow exempt.

      He sounds like someone who’d rather argue theory instead of real-world consequences of that theory.

      And how many pages did he use to state his case, again?

  • Dana Pellerin

    I wonder how many people with snarky comments have actually read his letter? I just did and he actually very calmly and logically presents his point of view. We may or may not agree with his conclusions, but it’s no hateful diatribe.

    The only real mistake he made is naively thinking that businesses are democracies, and that you can radically affect the culture from the bottom. In any organization if you rock the boat too hard, you will get thrown overboard.

    • BC2009

      He called out Google for being an authoritarian echo chamber and they just confirmed it by firing him.

      • Cranky Observer

        Ha – those stupid evil libruls will self-destruct when I pose this conundrum! Their heads will asplode!! No one ever thought of this diabolical trap before!!!

        • BC2009

          grow up

          • Cranky Observer

            Project much?

          • BC2009

            Oh pot…. this is the kettle….

            -Cranky Observer

    • The Cappy

      But that’s always been the nature of mobs. He blasphemed against orthodoxy. He and his views were immediately excised, for the good of the body. You have to make examples of these people so that no one will ever dare voice contrary opinions. You have to excoriate them and make up extreme straw-man arguments. Most people will prefer to just outdo each other with comments like “great match for Peter Thiel” or “the Trump adminstration” or “Uber.” Oh well. After his memory has been erased, they can go back to talking about how welcoming they are to all. Except, you know, people with different viewpoints.

      • i’m welcoming of other viewpoints, unless you’re a dick and your viewpoint is that of a dick. i don’t feel i have to be welcoming of dicks, or tolerant of intolerance.

        that being said, i have to find this memo since it wasn’t link in either jim’s post or the linked post.

        • David Stewart
          • Mo

            Thanks for the link. I’m reading it now.

        • The Cappy

          There’s really no question where the worst of the intolerance is coming from right now. We just saw it in action. A man lost his job and is anathema throughout his industry. Everyone has now received fair warning: only one viewpoint will ever be heard again. Tolerance indeed.

          • David Stewart

            You seem to be seeing what you want to see and ignoring everything else.

            One person was fired, apparently for breaking his terms of employment. Meanwhile entire government agencies are being told they can’t use the term “climate change” and whole companies are preventing their employees from having birth control covered under their insurance. I’m not sure how this one incident is even comparable to many of the other truly alarming acts of suppression going on.

          • jimothyGator

            We have seen the face of tyranny, and it’s having only 48 choices, instead of 50, for birth control, or worse yet, having to pay for your own birth control.

          • The Cappy

            hahahahaha… So that’s you’re argument? This injustice is okay because there’s this other completely unrelated silliness going on? FFS. Tell me you were drunk when you wrote this.

          • David Stewart

            I was taking issue with your characterization of this as “the worst of the intolerance.” I was not drinking.

          • The Cappy

            I see. You’re simply conflating two very different concepts. The climate change issue is just people being wrong. Dangerously wrong. But nobody is being fired from companies because the write reasoned emails saying, “Climate change is real and we need to change our thinking.” They don’t draw legions of people excoriating them and hating on them.

          • David Stewart

            People have certainly been fired or pushed out for climate change views (several recently were forced from current administration). And global warming antagonists are certainly willing to savage those they disagree with. There were numerous cases of employees being fired because they took part in A Day Without Immigrants protests. People have been fired for views on abortion (interestingly a recent case is right-wing darling Tomi Lahren). In both cases there has been a lot of abuse directed at those who were fired. As I said, you are seeing what you want. One person being fired does not constitute “the worst kind of intolerance.”

    • brucej

      ” I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.”

      Given that his ‘calm and logical point of view’ is riddled with logical fallacies, strawmen and false assumptions, I’d say your point is pointless.

      Would you think that a calm, logical exposition about murdering all your co-workers, or a calm, logical exposition about how anyone who eats meat should be jailed be any more acceptable?

      • Dana Pellerin

        I didn’t say his point of view was logical, I said it was logically presented. And as to your extreme example, nowhere did the original writer condone violence. You’re not comparing apples to apples.

        • brucej

          Ooookay…’logically presented bullshit’ then, is still bullshit.

          Had he smeared shit in the hallways in an exquistely artistic fashion,m creating a garnd mural of shit….he’s still smearing shit on the walls.

          • The Cappy

            Well then the Left would have given him a grant and defended his artistic integrity, so long as he was smearing shit on a flag or a cross. I’m willing to bet you didn’t read what he wrote, but you’re apoplectic about it. This is the intolerance I’m talking about. You can’t disagree with a guy. You have to hate and excoriate. You have to use the most extreme language you can.

        • BC2009

          Its amazing how brucej above uses “Strawmen” as a problem in the previous argument, and then proceeds to use straw men in his own argument. You cannot argue with far-left or far-right people. They are right and the truth be damned.

    • Mo

      I read it. The boy’s hilarious.

      He eagerly identifies as valuing “diversity and inclusion,” shortly before characterizing Left and Right biases with conveniently assigned philosophies that he then shakes out as weak/feminine and strong/male. Quelle surprise!

      He then somehow relates this to business models that add “unstable” and “stable” adjectives to his load. Masterful!

      Then, throughout the piece, he piles on with “humans are …”, “men are …”, and “women are …” stereotypes that would otherwise sound as though they’d been uttered by an antebellum plantation owner, had they not been dressed up with a sprinking of excellent neolibertarian “science,” fresh off the cherry-picker.

      “The only real mistake he made” is assuming a scarcity of grownups who could publicly call him on his Sophist garbage.

      And even a brogrammer haven like Google is managerially shrewd enough to realize that this is something they can no longer continue to appear to support. Even if most of them do.

  • BC2009

    Folks who think the guy said sexist things in his memo should read it… It is a very well reasoned memo and shame on Google for enforcing their authoritarian echo chamber and trying to silence him. I hope this is a turning point and the guy becomes a martyr.

    All the guy said was that if 100% of the imbalance of men & women is tech is NOT due to sexism (say 75% is due to sexism) then it will require discrimination against male employees to force a 50/50 balance of male and female engineers at Google.

    Anybody who knows math, knows that is correct. He then cites findings from Psychology and Anthropology as possible “other causes” for some of the disproportion of men and women and asks for open discussion to figure out how much (if any) these other things play in things.

    He says women and men ARE different on average, but the two populations have huge overlap in most skills and abilities, that no two individuals should be compared based on their gender group (tribalism).

    Basically, the guy is saying, let’s not use sexism against males to compensate for sexism against females. He should have never been fired.

    • Cranky Observer

      Actually, I have read all 10 tedious pages of the manifesto. It basically rehashes half-baked theories that have been floating around on the ‘net since the early 1980s and which have been either refuted with evidence and scholarship or have been shown not to have the firm basis that their proponents assert so strongly.

      • BC2009

        so the correct response is to provide examples to the contrary. the guy asked for an open discussion. maybe he has been misled on some (all?) of those points. but it doesn’t even seem to be open to discussion or debate for you.

        to assume that biology plays zero roll in how men and women perform tasks seems ludicrous. men and women are different physically and part of our physical nature is our brains and hormones that regulate our behavior. most women i know are better multi-taskers than men. I don’t know what the reason behind it is, but it seems more than anecdotal.

        all the guy said was that if 100% of the bias is NOT based on sexism, and if the natural state is “mostly men” then you have to use sexism against men to achieve the 50/50 goal. he asks what the natural state might be. is it 60/40? is it 40/60?

        also, you end up with more male candidates for tech jobs these days — likely because for years women were taught or believed that tech jobs were “for men”. so you had less women going to school for software engineering 10 years ago — it is therefore harder to find female candidates with 5, 10 or 15 years experience in the field (i.e.: the higher-paying jobs)….. now that you have more women going to school for software engineering, this will help balance things out in the years to come.

        • Cranky Observer
          = = = so the correct response is to provide examples to the contrary. the guy asked for an open discussion. maybe he has been misled on some (all?) of those points. but it doesn’t even seem to be open to discussion or debate for you. = = =

          As I noted I’ve been reading these screeds since the days of netnews (prior to Usenet) and they keep popping back up from the young male glibertarian set, so there is very little value in carefully assembling links, references, scientific papers, statistics, etc in response; it always swings back around to “but the ladyparts”.

          Fundamentally though what you are saying is that every day, 8-16 hours/day, 5-7 days/week every women who works in technology must stand ready to argue against the proposition that she does not belong there, does not deserve her job. Not on the basis of her skills or performance or credentials or accomplishments, but because of her “nature” as a women [as defined by 20-something males]. Any time any male who has read a bundle of confirmation biases packaged as “sociobiology” drops his self-serving arguments about her lack of fitness on her she must be prepared to drop everything and respond in detail, otherwise be labeled unfit for her job. A standard no male in the world is held to.

          But sure, no sexism. Got it.

          • jimothyGator
            [I]t always swings back around to “but the ladyparts”.

            Can you cite even one example where this argument was ever made?

          • Cranky Observer

            “Women, on average, have more: Openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas. Women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things, relative to men (also interpreted as empathizing vs. systemizing).”

            “Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance).This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs”

            Notably lacking: any scientific evidence that “women” have these characteristics or the individual women as expressed in our society who express some of these characteristics do so because of fundamental biology rather than social construction.

            Did you even read this hot mess by the way? You seem to be defending a document you don’t know very well and seem to be entirely irritant if it’s historical antecedents.

          • jimothyGator

            I see no mention of ladyparts.

          • Cranky Observer

            And I’m pointing out exactly where the author said what I claimed; sorry if that is upsetting you. Although if you prefer “ladyhormones” I’m ok with that.

            Now, please address the primary criticism: that men in tech are not expected to provide on-demand refutations of claims that they are biologically unsuited for their jobs irrespective of actual skills or accomplishments, whereas women are (with multiple such demands in this thread alone).

          • jimothyGator

            He still didn’t say what you said he said. But what you’re going to do is dismiss any argument—regardless of the evidence—and say, “oh, it’s just about the ladyparts.” You’re making strawman arguments, because it’s easier than addressing the actual arguments the author made.

            I’m not saying the author is right or wrong. I am saying, if you want to argue the author is wrong, argue against the points he actually made, rather than some made up points.

          • BC2009

            You put all those words in mouth. Project much?

          • Cranky Observer

            Please address the primary claim: women are expected to constantly refute claims that they are biologically unfit for their jobs; en are not.

          • Brandon

            Wet nurse. Blatant sexism against men.

            Refute that.

          • BC2009

            I never posited that women should have to constantly refute claims that they are biologically unfit for their jobs and I didn’t get that from the blog-post / memo (aka: “manifesto”) either. I think everybody agrees that the majority of the problem is sexism and built-in historical biases in the environment.

            The concern here is that if you mandate a 50/50 split in men versus women then you are making assumptions about everything else and you end up discriminating against somebody who has merit to meet a quota and you can hurt the company as a whole.

            There are simply not as many experienced women in tech today because for years women have felt discouraged or disinclined to pursue jobs in tech. I’m betting much of that is because of the built-in biases. But I don’t rule out that there are some things that men are more adept at doing and inclined to do and some things that women are more adept at doing and inclined to do ON AVERAGE. It could very well be (if we fully understood the human mind and physiology) that women are actually better software engineers on average.

            We see in society that most people in prison are men and that men are classified as worse drivers in their youth simply because of their gender. I’m willing to bet that men are biologically more aggressive ON AVERAGE and therefore more violent and more prone to car accidents and speeding tickets (that’s a guess — there may be another cause). More “aggressive” or “violent” doesn’t really describe me as a man, but I had to deal with the car insurance side of things decades ago (until I got married in my late 20s). Thankfully, I have never done anything that would get me arrested.

            Nobody is saying that a woman should have to refute theories about why they are unqualified for a job. Everybody should be considered an individual and judged on their merit regardless of gender. Period. End of Story. The problem comes in where maybe a specific gender is less inclined to do something and therefore voluntarily excludes themselves as a population giving you a smaller population of one gender over another. If you still try to achieve a 50/50 split when your candidate pool is 65/35 and assuming a gaussian distribution on merit and skill for each gender, then the folks in the majority will be discriminated against to achieve 50/50.

            If I told you that ballet dancers should be a 50/50 split among men and women for the sake of equality and you had 20 women auditioning for every one man in ballet, you would be scratching your head at how to achieve that. That’s probably a bit extreme, but when I have interviewed for high-level tech jobs, I got about 4 to 5 men for every 1 woman applying. What was worse, is that the women applying typically did not have the same number of years experience as the men on average and for the last team I hired for, none of the 5 women I interviewed passed the basic skills test I provided (only one actually handed it in and it was done horribly incorrectly after I had given her an extension on completing it). I also had about 7 men fail it miserably, but enough passed it to proceed in the interview process.

            Does that one anecdotal experience tell me that all women are therefore inferior to men in tech jobs? ABSOLUTELY NOT. It tells me I have to look harder and wait longer and go through many more candidates to find the good experienced and skilled women in tech because there are less of them today. If I find qualified person for the job who happens to be a woman then I am making her an offer right away. But holding a job opening in hopes of finding a person of the desired gender has serious costs. You have to pass up good candidates in hopes for one of the “correct” gender. I think that problem solves itself within 10 years. Many of the inexperienced female candidates I interviewed will have years of experience under their belts and fresh waves of college graduates will have increasingly more women.

            The correct answer is to be like the orchestras you previously mentioned and be “gender blind”. Hire and promote somebody regardless of gender. But if in 10 years time we still don’t see an increase in the number of women candidates in tech fields, then it would sure be nice to have some research as to why that is happening. All those theories pertaining to “lady parts” or “lady hormones” or “man parts” or “man hormones” are likely trying to find an explanation because it is obvious that women and men behave differently on average (see prisons, car insurance and ballet dancing). The scientific method says you come up with a hypothesis and you let the evidence prove or disprove your hypothesis. You are also suppose to be able to discuss the evidence and the theories openly without getting offended. Right now we have too many people with chips on their shoulders to make that possible — the topic is too sensitive for some. It’s actually a lot like climate change deniers covering their ears and shouting “I can’t hear you”. People are refusing to have open conversation without taking offense and going on the offensive.

            Sure this is a sensitive topic for women who have suffered sexism in the work place — I get that. But I believe those women are some of the strongest and don’t need to be coddled and defended by men in shining armor. The great women in tech that I know are confident enough in their abilities and who they are to have no problem discussing any of this because their skills and experience speak for them — no need to refute anything verbally.

  • Brandon

    I am generally center to left leaning, but I think the points that the author made are valid criticism and deserve consideration, not termination. It sounds like Google fired him not for the points he was making, but to relieve the pressure they were under, both internally and externally.

    Conservatives dismiss climate change despite scientific evidence in favor of a theological interpretation. It is just as dangerous to dismiss biological science in favor of an ideological interpretation.

    But once again, this is the left versus the right, morality versus science, dismiss and defeat the enemy instead of having a constructive conversation.

    • BC2009

      Hooray for centrists like Brandon here. We are an endangered species.

      For those who have never seen a centrist (aka moderate), they have leanings slightly to the left or the right of center, but can actually see the value in both the left and right perspective when solving a problem. They actually use logic to weigh both sides of the argument and make a decision instead of clinging to ideology.

    • Cranky Observer

      Interestingly, the author of the manifesto neglected to explore the role that biology plays in who becomes a top-level symphony musician. That being, when auditions are conducted in full view of the all-male jury as was the case until ~1980, 99.9% of the musicians deemed capable are male. When the musician auditions behind a paper screen and the jury is not told if the performer is male or female then strangely 50% of those deemed capabe are female.

      • BC2009

        Good example, but your numbers are off. Your numbers would suggest that 100% of the bias was due to gender. Which is the thing the former Googler was questioning. Nobody is denying that sexism plays a role. But the author of the Google memo is questioning if there is more at play.

        The study you are referring to is from Harvard, I assume:

        http://gap.hks.harvard.edu/orchestrating-impartiality-impact-“blind”-auditions-female-musicians

        The actual numbers are 6% female (not 0.1%) in 1970 to 21% female (not 50%) in 1993:

        “In the years after these changes were instituted, the percent of female musicians in the five highest-ranked orchestras in the nation increased from 6 percent in 1970 to 21 percent in 1993. “

        ALSO, according to the study:

        “According to analysis using roster data, the transition to blind auditions from 1970 to the 1990s can explain 30 percent of the increase in the proportion female among new hires and possibly 25 percent of the increase in the percentage female in the orchestras.”

        So again… sexism played a role. Likely also the chances of ugly men improved over more attractive men. But sexism is not 100% of the problem here. The study found that the blind screens only explained 30% of the increase.

        I’m sure other factors included more women applying and pursuing these careers — much like you see in the tech industry — and this will bear fruit in the next decade.

        • Brandon

          Don’t bother correcting him with the real information. He already knows everything.

  • SDR97

    It seems that even entertaining the idea that there could be biology-based differences between the sexes is enough to brand you a dangerous misogynist these days. I read the letter and frankly, I don’t know if he’s right or not. But is it really a firing offense even to raise the question? He doesn’t even seem like he’s a conservative (heaven forbid!) but someone who thinks you shouldn’t have to cower in the corner in Silicon Valley if you are.

    I’m curious: is the fact that 90% of prisoners are male a form of discrimination? Or is there a biological component to that? If it’s discrimination, where are the people campaigning to balance out these numbers? If it’s biology, then why would that be the only place where biological sex differences entered the equation?

    Or perhaps it’s a bit of both. But apparently, that’s an opinion you can’t hold at Google without getting fired for it.

    • BC2009

      Never thought of that “prison angle” before. I think there are certainly difference between men and women and I don’t know how they play out in the software engineering world. Maybe men do better in part because of sexism, in part because the environment is setup by men and so they succeed better at it and maybe in part because of biology (all 3 things are suggested in the memo). I would also think that more women are going into software engineering in school now and that you will have a greater number of women who excel at it in the future and that will help balance things out (i.e.: it cannot be fixed overnight when for years women viewed it or were taught it was “for men”). You definitely see more men as job candidates in the field. I just think this whole thing is a mess. People take offense at the slightest suggestion that men and women are fundamentally different (except when maybe talking about prison population)

  • David Stewart

    I find it interesting he calls Google authoritarian and left-leaning, but lists authoritarian tendencies as a right-wing trait.

    • GS

      Same way I’m reading this. As fair, reasonable and rational as he tries to sound, it still come across, to me, as a polemic on the political culture he sees, and less about resolving the real issue that many companies are trying to address.

      • Mo

        It is indeed a polemic. A ten-page hash of clumsy stereotypes and personal beliefs peddled as fact.

  • PC culture run amok.

    I read James Damore’s memo a few days ago and while I don’t agree with all of it, it’s well-reasoned and nowhere near as inflammatory as one would think given the social reaction. But, we’re now living in a world loaded with professional victims on both sides of the ideological divide, including president bonespur.

    It seems we learn from history that we don’t learn from history.

    Many reading this may not know the significance of the ACLU defending a Neo-Nazi group’s right to march Skokie, Illinois, but it means a great deal to me as both a Jew and as a long time member of the ACLU.

    https://www.aclu.org/other/aclu-history-taking-stand-free-speech-skokie

    As others have said here and elsewhere, Google is not a public setting and they can certainly control what gets expressed over their intranet, as they should. But, I think they’ve made a mistake in both firing James and in their reaction to his memo and while I think Obama’s “beer summit” was awkward, to say the least, I give him credit for attempting to bring two different viewpoints together.

    • PC is a unicorn. Bigotry is bigotry.

      • GlennC777

        PC as a unicorn. Please explain.

        “Bigotry is bigotry” is an obvious tautology and is meaningless without elaboration.

      • BC2009

        Is that an attempt at a Haiku or are you looking to try to say something? In either case it is a failure.

        The guy you replied to made a sound argument and had a well stated case. You are just making an off-hand remark to try to dismiss him.

        If you are going to comment, please try to contribute instead of detract.

        • Cranky Observer

          No he didn’t make a “sound argumemt” – he repeated a bunch of half-baked just so stories that just happen to advantage a group he belongs to. What a coincidence.

          • reader
          • Cranky Observer
          • BC2009

            Richard (above) made a fine argument. You are just riding in here detracting everybody and accusing them of being sexist so you can pretend to be on some high horse where you are better than everybody else. You have yet to make a good argument. You simply reply to people and tell them what they just said (incorrectly) and defeat the supposed argument they made (but didn’t). You are adding nothing to the discussion.

            Wouldn’t it be nice if we were all as enlightened as you think you are?

          • Cranky Observer

            That’s some powerful virtue signaling there BC2009.

          • Brandon

            Cranky Observer – Your refute to a linked document with multiple citations of scientific evidence, is linking to an opinion piece that cites no evidence?

            I thought liberals were supposed to be the “scientifically enlightened” ones. Apparently, that only goes as far as your ideology, which ironically enough, is exactly why you hate the conservatives! Pull your head out of your ass and look around, you might learn something.

          • Cranky Observer

            So you have no response? Got it. Nice try though.

          • Brandon

            What are you talking about? I pointed out the fact that you refuted scientific evidence with opinion piece. No response? Are you retarded?

          • BC2009

            Brandon, I think you might be the “wrong kind of progressive” for Cranky Observer. He wants you to make a hard left with yours eyes closed. I’d keep them open if I were you.

          • Mo

            NeoLibertarian /= Progressive.

  • Good thing the entire tech industry isn’t just based on Silicon Valley then.

  • brucej

    I think he’ll be picked by by some failing brogrammer startup shop in a heart beat.

    All those venture cap dollars ain’t gonna burn themselves, baby!

  • Steve Carr

    Privacy is every Americans right. Freedom of speech and freedom of the internet,. We must keep the internet free from the government. The more we use them the more powerful they become. , us the unbiased no tracking search engine that owns its own search results Lookseek.com try it have a nice day

  • Mo

    If it weren’t for the guy’s predictable, privilege-based blind spots, deflection, and “I’m no sexist, but” posturing, it’d parallel nicely with “the Jews are obviously a degenerate race.” But this guy isn’t exactly addressing a prole audience, is he?

    Yeah, I’m a Jew, and I invoked Godwin for a reason. Fire away, bros.

  • lord riddick

    Never thought of that “prison angle” before. I think there are certainly difference between men and women and I don’t know how they play out in the software engineering world. Maybe men do better in part because of sexism, in part because the environment is setup by men and so they succeed better at it and maybe in part because of biology (all 3 things are suggested in the memo). I would also think that more women are going into software engineering in school now and that you will have a greater number of women who excel at it in the future and that will help balance things out (i.e.: it cannot be fixed overnight when for years women viewed it or were taught it was “for men”). You definitely see more men as job candidates in the field. I just think this whole thing is a mess. People take offense at the slightest suggestion that men and women are fundamentally different (except when maybe talking about prison population)

  • Shaker98

    Thanks for the link. I’m reading it now.

  • LordSnow

    Cranky Observer – Your refute to a linked document with multiple citations of scientific evidence, is linking to an opinion piece that cites no evidence?I thought liberals were supposed to be the “scientifically enlightened” ones. Apparently, that only goes as far as your ideology, which ironically enough, is exactly why you hate the conservatives! Pull your head out of your ass and look around, you might learn something.

  • NNB

    Interestingly, the author of the manifesto neglected to explore the role that biology plays in who becomes a top-level symphony musician. That being, when auditions are conducted in full view of the all-male jury as was the case until ~1980, 99.9% of the musicians deemed capable are male. When the musician auditions behind a paper screen and the jury is not told if the performer is male or female then strangely 50% of those deemed capabe are female.

  • ken