A group of Google employees published an open letter on Wednesday calling on San Francisco’s Pride parade organizers to ban the technology giant from participating in the annual event and cancel its sponsorship agreement.
The employees, in a letter published to Medium, accuse Google of repeatedly ignoring the concerns of LGBTQ staff.
“We have spent countless hours advocating for our company to improve policies and practices regarding the treatment of LGBTQ+ persons, the depiction of LGBTQ+ persons, and harassment and hate speech directed at LGBTQ+ persons, on YouTube and other Google products,” the letter states.
“Whenever we press for change, we are told only that the company will ‘take a hard look at these policies,'” it continues. “But we are never given a commitment to improve, and when we ask when these improvements will be made, we are always told to be patient.”
Employees then request that parade organizers block Google from sponsoring a branded float and remove the Internet behemoth as an official sponsor.
“For a large company, perhaps waiting is prudent, but for those whose very right to exist is threatened, we say there is no time to waste, and we have waited too long, already. We are no longer content to wait,” the employees wrote.
Calls to remove Google from the Pride parade follows a reported via The Verge stating that the technology giant sent a memo to staff notifying them that they are not allowed to protest company policies at the event.
“Employees are free to make whatever statement they want personally, apart from our corporate sponsored float/contingent,” Google managers reportedly told employees. “But they are not permitted to leverage our platform to express a message contradictory to the one Google is expressing.”
Some employees planned to protest Google over a recent decision by YouTube not to remove content by conservative comedian Steven Crowder following complaints from Vox reporter Carlos Maza. Crowder was accused of directing anti-gay insults at Maza, who responded by whipping up a pressure campaign to have the comedian censored on the video platform.
Crowder has denied any wrongdoing, saying that his quips were nothing more than “harmless ribbing.”
YouTube initially ruled that despite Crowder publishing content the platform referred to as “hurtful,” it wouldn’t penalize his account, a decision it later reversed by demonetizing his videos.