Internal Emails Reveal Google’s Toxic Culture

January 11, 2018

Employees at Google used internal company message boards to advocate political violence, recruit for a hard-line left-wing activist group and even propose public “trials” for ideological opponents, documents filed in court suggest.

The nearly 100 pages of internal emails and message board postings are contained in a class-action lawsuit filed by former employee James Damore in California on Monday, accusing Google of discriminating against white people, men and conservatives.

Mr Damore was the author of a controversial internal memo criticising the tech giant’s “politically correct” diversity policies. He was sacked last year for “perpetuating gender stereotypes” after the memo was leaked to the media and went viral.

Screenshots of messages attached to the complaint show Google employees attacking conservatives and white people, advocating political violence and even sharing “how-to” guides to join Antifa, a violent left-wing anarchist group reportedly classified as “domestic terrorists” by US Homeland Security.

“Get in touch with your friendly local Antifa,” one employee wrote in response to an anonymous thread in January 2017 titled “Whelp, guess it might be time for revolution”, in which the questioner asked, “How do people cope with this? I’ve never been part of a military or war effort before, I guess I can be useful as IT support or for hacking.”

The respondent said there were “people who have been fighting neo-Nazis for decades” so “don’t try to do this alone”. “They’re nice people (generally). Get to know them. If you don’t know where to find them, try an Occupy group … or just find Black, Latina/Latino, or Muslim activists and ask how you can support them.

“I won’t say violence has no place, but if you are going to be doing anything risky, I can’t overemphasise the important [sic] of networking with people who’ve been thinking about scenarios like the one we’re in for years, and building relationships with them. We are only powerful if we organise.”

They went on to advise using encryption to hide their activities online. “Working at Google I’m sure you understand how interconnected everything online is,” they wrote. “And it should be pointed out that this list is not truly anonymous. The government could issue a subpoena to provide names on this list and Google would have to comply.”

In a separate post, employee Matthew Montgomery voiced support of violent protests by drawing comparisons to WWII. “We went to war over this s***,” he wrote. “We did not set up a roundtable with Churchill, FDR, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, et al. We killed Nazis until the Nazis stopped.

“To paraphrase MLK, punching a Nazi is the language of the oppressed. MLK was pretty clear that you need BOTH the threat of violent and nonviolent resistance for the latter to be an effective threat. MLK refused to condemn more violent elements of the civil rights era despite repeated calls because without that threat, they’ll just keep killing you.

“This is why I refuse to condemn rioters, or punching Nazis. This is targeted, political, defensive violence. It’s what happens when you leave otherwise nonviolent people with no other choice.”

In August, employee Tim Chevalier wrote that there was “literally only one reason an anti-fascist would be violent towards you: you are a fascist”.

“People don’t commit anti-fascist violence except in response to fascist violence,” he wrote. “It’s perfectly reasonable to expect a violent response to the expression of hate speech because hate speech is itself violence.”

Another employee, Rachel Blum, wrote, “If you subscribe to an ideology that, as a matter of fact, wants to kill people because they are different — and has, by the millions — then you deserve being punched in the face. Repeatedly.”

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