As part of our “Rebels of Google” series, Breitbart News is anonymously interviewing current and former Google employees who are speaking out against partisan bias and discrimination at the company. This is a full transcript of our interview with a former Google engineer (alias “Emmett”).
Allum Bokhari: You are one of a number of current and former Google employees speaking out in the wake of the Viewpoint Diversity Memo. Is there anything particular that makes you support the principles in that document?
Emmett: I’m happy you asked. I’m also happy you’re giving the document a more accurate name, as the mainstream media has almost universally been calling it the “Anti-Diversity Memo” which is both stupid and a lie. The fundamental starting point of the document is that there exist documented differences between men and women, which we see hash out in real life. That is truth, well-supported by thousands of scientific studies. The simple fact that this is as true as you can get in terms of science is what makes me support this fundamental starting point.
As a society, we must worry and take action, when it becomes crimethink to speak out simple truths. Truth equals virtue equals happiness. You cannot solve serious social problems by telling lies or punishing people who tell truth. Perhaps we’ve become numb because of the constant stream of lies that people tell us, perhaps not, but one thing is certain: almost no one talks about this. It’s probably time for the pendulum to begin swinging back.
AB: the backlash against the memo author has been severe, and proves his point about ideological hostility at Google. What is it like working in such an intolerant environment?
Emmett: It’s depressing, mind-numbing, and extremely stressful. It’s also harmful to your health. There were many days I couldn’t do any meaningful work whatsoever. I’d arrive at my desk and simply space out. Perhaps read Twitter or random Web sites. Perhaps fume over posts made internally by people who are very clearly proselytizing what amounts to religious dogma (of the social justice variety), and of course no one dares contradict it, because everybody knows it’s a quick trip to H.R. if you dare say anything against the antisocial order.
Or sometimes you get punched. I know at least one engineer did get punched in retaliation for something he posted — I am sure he will corroborate this to you directly.
Many Google engineers who could not cope with the constant hostility and the reminders that “you are not one of us” have left the company. It bears reminding that some left in poor health — drinking problems, insomnia, nervous breakdowns, depression. All of this is understandable. Constant abuse, sneers, insults and smears from people who detest that you disagreed with them, or pointed out evidence that refutes their dogma, combined with the low-level terror of being fired (and in many cases deported), combined with a learned helplessness because you know your abusers are supported by management, make for a very demoralizing experience.
You know you can technically deliver everything that is required from you, you know you get along super well with your teammates and your manager, you know you have many friends internally who support and care for you… and none of that is enough to offset how angry and despondent you feel. But you *must* at all costs keep it *to yourself*.
AB: have there been any stand-out moments of intolerance at the company that you recall?
Emmett: Too many to recall all. Here are a few:
I remember engineering manager Adam Fletcher bragging about how (a) he’ll never work with people like me (which he refers to as “hostile voices”), and (b) how people like me were being blacklisted *outside of Google* (I assume because he and others like him were using gossip to coordinate industry-wide blacklists). Note that Adam’s position is widely-shared instead of reprimanded by management. Paul Cowan (of #GoogleManifesto infamy) also got away with posting comments in support of that.
I remember Colm Buckley (of #GoogleManifesto infamy) dismissing a well-written post by a colleague of mine, with the single sentence “Isn’t it nice to be white.” I also remember him being condescending to an employee who posted an innocuous message of skepticism about social justice. I should note that the employee Colm condescended to was eventually forced out of the company. I remember the freespeech@ shitshow. If I am piecing events together correctly, I believe this is where the illegal yet persistent belief about it being okay to create and share professional blocklists originated. The author of the freespeech@ list left the company.
I remember Kim Burchett (high-ranking manager with a lot of reports) posting about how she’s “considering creating a list of people who make diversity difficult”. Two things you should know about her (okay, there’s tons, but two that stand out). First is commentary she posted on promotion committees, where she literally boos men and white people. Second is that, once upon a time, she had this epic Freudian slip, in which she accidentally wrote that terms like “diversity” and “unconscious bias” are actually stand-ins for “prejudice” and “white supremacist patriarchy”. Interesting, eh?
I remember Peter Goett entirely unironically posting a reply to a list with over 10,000 Googlers: “congratulations on your white penis.” To my understanding, had someone posted “black vagina”, that person would have been summarily fired. Also to my understanding, Goett appears to have received no punishment.
Of course, there’s Alon Altman (again of #GoogleManifesto infamy). This is the individual who publicly posted that, if the author of the Google Memo wasn’t summarily fired, then he would quit. Alon is one of the many people who gloated about the departure of one of the dissidents at Google. When people recriminated him about his gloating, Alon doubled down.
To my understanding, none of these activities were subject to H.R. action. But why would that be the case — bias in support of these discriminatory and hostile behaviors goes pretty much all the way up, management’s just clever enough not to add to the fire (often) but just to let the lower ranks make it happen. You have to remember these people are quite intelligent.
I want to stress to you that these G+ posts, while “in principle” avoidable, are — along with mailing lists — the standard way in which people communicate to each other values, principles, and sometimes work items too. So, in order to perform your duties, you *must* be exposed to at least *some* of it. Which means in practice you cannot avoid people writing odious things about you or your political ideas, and (given the climate) you are not at liberty to reply to these people, because you’d be disciplined or fired. My understanding of California labor laws leads me to believe that has legal significance.
Now, the key thing to understand here is that this could be solved very easily:
a) either let people discuss pro- and anti-SJW viewpoints, or b) require that people come here to do work, and either stop proselytizing political views, or keep them contained to a small political list.
But that’s *categorically not* what happens at Google. There is only one set of allowable opinions, and that is the set of pro-SJW beliefs.
The mechanics of this hegemony are fairly straightforward:
1. Every day, rank-and-file (nominally low-status, but informally very high-status) SJWs post SJW / Marxist propaganda that irritates non-SJW folks who just want to do their job.
2. Everyone who dares question any of these propaganda posts, no matter how politely, is chastised publicly by the SJWs, and then (I hope it’s clear) written up on some secret lists. Well, okay, not that secret — some people don’t bother even hiding it, as you can see by this tweet from Kelly Ellis, former Google employee:
3. H.R. punish some of the people who question SJW orthodoxy. How harsh the punishment is really does depend on the gravity of the blasphemy — for example, pointing out differences between genders would be a Final
Warning sort of event. Meanwhile, being autistic and committing the faux pas of questioning pronoun dogma at a global TGIF [editors note: Google internal meeting] is a fireable offense.
4. Management praise and reward what SJWs do, and sometimes vocally chastise non-SJW folks who dared speak up.
It’s almost always the same story. Whether you dislike a Democratic party candidate, or have reservations about how Google “looks twice” at the applications of certain candidates from privileged (“underrepresented”) minorities, or support free speech, you can bet the heuristic is infallible: if it’s something the SJWs don’t want to hear
about, be very, very careful about opening your mouth to anyone.
The message is clear: if you do not align with SJWs, you do not belong here. Not only do you not belong here — our resident SJWs will gossip around to get you to never, ever work in a good job again. So shut up.
AB: another Googler has informed us that Google employees working in AdSales have expressed sympathy with the Sleeping Giants campaign, and have encouraged Adwords customers to pull ads from Breitbart and The Rebel Media. To your knowledge, is this true?
Emmett: A number of friends have privately confirmed this to me. I know there are efforts to demote anything non-PC, anti-Communist and anti-Islamic terror from search results. To what extent that has been successful, I don’t know. But I think what we must do is judge by results. How were things before? How are things now? If you remember the YouTube “heroes” program, as well as the wave of demonetizations and age restrictions that hit popular anti-PC YouTubers (all of whom ended up having to move to Patreon), I think that speaks for itself. Now we have the owner of the well-known JihadWatch site, complaining that his ranking in Google Search has dropped enormously. These are all facts that can be verified by any third-party, so it’s not a matter of “he said she said”.
I can tell you this: I have read internal mailing list e-mail from SJWs absolutely incensed that there’d be, say, a Sargon of Akkad video appearing as a video related to one of their favorite SJW vloggers. This is what happens when you have unbiased algorithms, which at the time, was true. I don’t have to tell you that, in that e-mail, the SJW was quite literally asking that the related videos function be perverted so that such a thing would stop happening.
AB: YouTube is going to artificially promote progressive content, and manipulate search results using the “Jigsaw Redirect Method” to minimize the reach of potentially problematic videos, in addition to other new censorship techniques. For users of Google and its related services, is political censorship about to become the norm? How much of this is the result of internal pressure (from politicized employees) and how much of it is external (governments, advertisers)?
Emmett: The question is how would you know if you were influenced by the “Jigsaw Redirect Method”? The software could just astroturf your Related Videos section, and you would be none the wiser. Sure, if you know what to look for, perhaps you’d notice. But the vast majority of the viewership would never ever know. That’s the whole point of such a disinformation program, right? If you can tell it’s disinformation, you would never ever believe it.
I can’t speak to what level States have influenced Google with regards to this program. But given the Zeitgeist at Google, I can tell you most of the changes you see right now are at least in part motivated by ideas straight from social justice.
AB: is there pressure inside the company for Google to do more to fight against the Trump movement, and Republicans, as there has been at Facebook? Do you suspect Google will use its power to manipulate search results against right-leaning politicians in future?
Emmett: I don’t have to tell you that there was an internal meltdown at Google when the election was over. The hysteria has only ever reached a higher level once. That was throughout this weekend, thanks to the #GoogleManifesto scandal — which is nothing more than mass hysteria at a trivial truth no one wanted spoken. There does seem to be a pattern where, the more difficult a truth is to stomach, the higher the hysteria levels go internally at Google.
The answer always comes down to: will the people truly in charge of what gets done to the technology, succumb to corrupt ideas? There’s only so much any person can withstand, especially when corruption is almost universally presented as virtuous, moral and necessary.
Here’s my answer:
It’s been a long ride. Many people have stood firm against perverting their own work in the service of ideological pursuits. I respect these people for having had the fortitude to keep their creations pure and just. I know these people and I profoundly respect them. It must be very hard to be on the Search team and to have to turn down requests to tweak Google Search to favor corrupt ideologies.
But many people are leaving Google. And many of these ex-Googlers are people who were tired of having to cope with these corrupt ideologies and the people who proselytize them, support them, and punish people who
disagree with them.
That means Google is leaking people with integrity. Let’s ask ourselves: who remains in charge, after that slow but certain evaporative cooling of beliefs? You do the math.
Unless the culture changes, I am afraid the answer to your question is: only a matter of time.
AB: what is upper management’s position on this? Are they also outraged by the Viewpoint Diversity Memo? Or are they sympathetic?
Emmett: Upper management is cautious with what they say. I bet you they have the best P.R. people in the whole world guiding them through what to say as they execute what, to them, is a foregone conclusion. Guaranteed.
Tell you this, though: sympathetic they are not.
AB: what can ordinary Google users do to support the memo?
Google is quite good at listening to both their users and their customers, with one exception: when what the users want is at odds with ideological dogmas widely held at Google. In that case, users don’t count. No one does.
AB: what are your thoughts on the gender divide in tech jobs? Is the manifesto accurate in that regard?
Emmett: So here’s the deal on why the manifesto has been vilified so much:
The manifesto cites well-documented differences in attitude between men and women, which I happen to support, because it would be against my fundamental values of truth, honesty and self-knowledge to go “yes, but” at hundreds of studies proving the differences in attitude are real.
To be quite specific with what I have concluded is true in regards to this specific finding: I believe that some of the gender differences in attitude are cultural, and some are genetic. I also believe that culture influences genetics (very slowly but very certainly), and genetics influences culture (very strongly but very vaguely). The two processes are inextricably linked because we are meat machines, and until there are entirely artificial brains in Fluorinert vats, this will remain an irrefutable truth.
Does that mean that tech has more men than women because of genetics? Yes, to some extent.
Does that mean that tech has more men than women because of culture? Yes, to some extent.
Does what IS mean what OUGHT TO BE should be DIFFERENT from what IS? I don’t think anyone has squared the is-ought problem.
But I can tell you this: irrespective of what each of us believe *ought to be*, sticking our heads in the sand about what *is*, will never, ever, ever let us find a solution to the problems we perceive. About the stupidest thing you can do, is deny what’s true, no matter your station in life — whether you are as downtrodden as an alcoholic or as privileged as a Google employee. You cannot solve a problem you do not understand. But here’s what you can totally do — you can make it worse.
By the way I’m looking forward to the conversation that Dr. Jordan Peterson will have with the author of the Google Memo tomorrow. Make sure to tune in!
AB: what’s next for ideological dissenters at Google? Where do you go from here?
Emmett: Keep our heads down, keep ourselves from getting fired, keep our asses at work, deliver great results, until there’s critical mass.
That day is coming.
This article is part of the “Rebels of Google” series. Read Part One here.