Former Google employee James Damore gave an interview to CNN Tech in which he discussed his memo and the reasons for his firing. One of Damore’s strongest statements didn’t make it into the 8-minute video clip published by CNN (see below), but here it is from CNN’s write-up:
“There’s a very strong idea that the left ideology is the only ideology possible. We should be able to express differing opinions,” Damore told CNN Tech. “I’m a centrist, and they’re calling me a Nazi. That is a real problem.”
CNN’s Laurie Segall also asked Damore about whether there were other conservatives in Silicon Valley who are afraid to speak up. “Yes, there are many conservatives that are in the closet, quite literally, in Silicon Valley,” Damore said. “I mean, I’m a centrist and I still can’t express many of my views,” he added.
Asked what those “in the closet” conservatives were saying to him privately, Damore replied, “They largely agree with much of what I’m saying and many have either left Google because the culture is very alienating towards them or are thinking about it because it’s so bad.” He continued, “They don’t feel like they can bring their whole selves to Google and that that is a psychologically unsafe environment, where you feel like you have to constantly self-censor yourself and you have to stay in the closet and mask who you really are.”
At this point in the interview, Google inserts a response from a Google spokesperson who says, “An important part of our culture is lively debate. But like any workplace that doesn’t mean that anything goes…” The suggestion is that Damore has gone beyond the boundaries of what any company would allow by discussing large-scale population differences between men and women.
CNN’s Laurie Segall then brings up the alt-right (for the 2nd time) asking Damore how he feels having their support. She doesn’t provide any examples of this support but CNN’s article mentions a photographer who took a picture of Damore. “I do not support the alt-right,” Damore says. He continues, “Just because someone supports me doesn’t mean that I support them.”
Eventually, Damore does get to make one of the core points about his memo as it applies to women in tech (Google’s tech employees are 80% male). “I do acknowledge that it’s not all biology, that there are cultural influences,” Damore said. He continued, “But there is biology too and we need to acknowledge that. And what I was fighting against was the idea that any disparity in outcome was solely due to discrimination and that’s simply not the case.”