Employees of Google and its parent company Alphabet staged a mass protest across the globe on Thursday, after a New York Times article revealed the company had offered generous severance packages for executives credibly accused of sexual assault.
Starting in Asia, spreading across Europe, and moving to the United States, Google employees walked out in protest, Bloomberg reported. Photos with the hashtag “#GoogleWalkout” flooded Twitter as employees took to the streets in Zurich (Switzerland), Dublin (Ireland), Singapore, London (England), and Hyderabad (India). In the U.S., walkouts began around 11:10 a.m. in New York and Atlanta.
Google Walkout For Real Change, an employee group, said that 47 offices worldwide are participating in the walkout.
The New York Times reported that Google gave millions of dollars to executives in secret exit packages after they were accused of sexual assault. Perhaps the most egregious case involved Andy Rubin, creator of the Android mobile software, who was given a $90 million exit package after the company verified a sexual assault claim against him.
Rubin insisted that he “never coerced a woman to have sex in a hotel room. Also, I am deeply troubled that anonymous Google executives are commenting about my personnel file and misrepresenting the facts.”
Google CEO Sundar Pichai joined its vice president of people operations, Eileen Naughton, in reassuring staff that the company was “dead serious” about ensuring it provided a “safe and inclusive workplace,” Bloomberg reported. They added that Google had fired 48 people without pay for sexual misconduct over the past two years.
Protesters flooded the streets regardless.
RTE News’s Will Goodbody shared a video from Dublin.
— Will Goodbody (@willgoodbody) November 1, 2018
The BBC’s Dave Lee shared a photo from Singapore.
— Dave Lee (@DaveLeeFT) November 1, 2018
Ted, a privacy engineer at Google, shared a photo from the Zurich walkout.
— Ted (@TedOnPrivacy) November 1, 2018
One of the protesters in New York even dressed as a unicorn.
— Olivia Carville (@livcarville) November 1, 2018
CNBC’s Jillian D’Onfro shared a list of demands surrounding sexual misconduct.
Organizers are demanding more transparency from Google around its handling of sexual harassment and pay and opportunity inequity, as well as more employee empowerment overall (for example, having an employee representative join the company's board). In their words: pic.twitter.com/eKmLnhSp4f
— Jillian D'Onfro (@jillianiles) November 1, 2018
Shannon Coulter shared another photo from the New York protest.
Solidarity with the @Google employees walking out today in protest of the company's treatment of women. ✊ Companies that are serious about ending sexual harassment will put an end to to end forced arbitration. #GoogleWalkout pic.twitter.com/JGc9csbl1l
— Shannon Coulter (@shannoncoulter) November 1, 2018
Some employees who were working from home on Thursday even staged separate walkouts in solidarity. Liz Fong-Jones posted a photo from Thailand.
I'm not at work for the next while, so I can't walk out of the office. Instead, here's something from me in solidarity, at 11:10am local time in Thailand. #GoogleWalkout #TimesUp #MeToo pic.twitter.com/cZpyXVUl1A
— Liz Fong-Jones (方禮真) (@lizthegrey) November 1, 2018
This poster also expressed the concerns well.
— Briana Wallace (@BrianaWallace) November 1, 2018
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.