Google has fired a computer engineer who caused a storm in Silicon Valley by asserting that the gender gap among technology workers was down to biological differences between men and women.
James Damore, a Harvard university graduate who had worked at Google for four years, ignited a sexism row last week when he distributed a 10-page manifesto that accused the company of “political bias” against conservatives and said initiatives to encourage female programmers were “unfair”.
On Tuesday Damore revealed he had been dismissed by Google for “perpetuating gender stereotypes” and said he was considering legal action against the company. Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks who is holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, offered him a job and accused Google of censorship.
Damore’s manifesto had accused the company of a “left bias” and a “politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence”.
It said the yawning gap in jobs and pay for male and female computer experts was partly due to biological causes such as “men’s higher drive for status” and women being “more prone to anxiety” rather than any biases and called for an end to the company’s initiatives to promote minorities.
Google employees publicly criticised the memo but Damore said he had received many private messages of support from staff who felt the same way.