As controversy continues to swirl around fired Google engineer James Damore and his memo about gender diversity, longtime New York Times columnist David Brooks has placed blame squarely on the shoulders of Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
In a new column out Friday titled “Sundar Pichai Should Resign as Google’s C.E.O.,” Brooks takes Pichai to task over his handling of Damore’s firing.
“There are many actors in the whole Google/diversity drama, but I’d say the one who’s behaved the worst is the CEO, Sundar Pichai,” Brooks wrote.
Brooks accuses Pichai of joining “the mob” that came after Damore after his memo was circulated, and says he failed to stand up for “the free-flow of ideas.”
“Either Pichai is unprepared to understand the research (unlikely), is not capable of handling complex data flows (a bad trait in a CEO) or was simply too afraid to stand up to a mob,” Brooks wrote.
Damore was fired from Google on Monday after his memo claiming biological differences make women less suited for careers in tech was widely circulated.
“To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK,” Pichai wrote in a company-wide memo about Damore’s firing.
But many have come to Damore’s defense in the days since, particularly those who are opposed to what Damore called Google’s “left bias.” While Damore told Bloomberg TV that he doesn’t identify with the alt-right, many of his sympathizers are right-wing or alt-right audiences who say Damore’s firing is a free-speech issue.
In his column, Brooks echos the free-speech argument around Damore’s firing and says he agrees with Damore’s science-based arguments about gender differences.
You can read Brooks’ piece on the New York Times website.