Reddit User Claiming to Be a Google Insider Describes How the Tech Giant 'Screwed Over' James Damore
A Reddit user who claims to be a Google insider involved in firing former Google engineer James Damore on Tuesday spilled his guts about the internal decisions that led to Damore's termination.
Damore was let go in August 2017 after internally publishing a memo criticizing the company's "ideological echo chamber" and outlining his views on how gender differences affect females in STEM fields.
"It’s terrible what we did to him,” the user, identifying himself as TiredOfLying4Google, claimed. In a detailed post, the user described Google's disgraceful maneuverings in the Damore affair.
Damore reposted the confession on his Reddit page, commenting that the user seemed credible because he had revealed information in the post that only a few individuals at Google would know. "Whoah, this would explain a lot," he wrote on Reddit.
"It can't be fully verified, but they have intimate knowledge of the situation," he tweeted.
In the post, TiredOfLying4Google revealed that Damore was involved with Dragonfly, a secret search engine project Google was working on to comply with China’s censorship laws. Google CEO Sundar Pichai denied at a House Judiciary hearing in December that the company had any “current” plans to launch a search engine in China, but admitted that over 100 Google employees had worked on the effort. Dragonfly was reportedly shut down late last year amid internal disputes about the project. According to Damore, his Dragonfly work was not public knowledge.
“We needed to make an example of Damore,” wrote TiredOfLying4Google, who created the Reddit account on December 18. “Looking for some excuse to fire him, we spied on his phone and computer. We didn’t find anything, although our spying probably made his devices unusably slow, preventing him from organizing support within the company.”
Firing him without an NDA was a huge risk though. He was a top performer and knew too many compromising secrets, like Dragonfly, the secret censored search project in China. He had also reported several legally dubious practices in Search that still exist. Only God knows why he never leaked Dragonfly or the other issues, but I think it's because he actually cared about Google.
“I was one of about 100 employees that knew about Dragonfly,” Damore wrote in the comment section. “I also did report several legal issues in Search that they probably haven’t fixed. My phone and computer were also extremely slow after the document went viral.”
He cited some other examples mentioned in the post that aren't public knowledge, including the fact that the head of the meme-generating website Memegen is considered by Google to be an "ally" in the diversity cause and the fact that Google managers were given talking points on what to tell reporters about Damore's memo.