Coinciding with Monday’s firing of the Googler behind the anti-diversity document, Sundar Pichai announced an all-hands meeting set for today. The Town Hall on gender, expression, and other issues was abruptly canceled this afternoon over fears of online harassment.
Pichai sent the email announcing (via Recode) the cancellation approximately 30 minutes before the Town Hall was to begin. The CEO, along with Google’s leadership team, was set to host a discussion on the issues that have sprung up since the document’s release last weekend.
The company’s 60,000 employees would have a chance to ask questions on issues ranging from diversity, expression, and how the firing of the document’s author was handled.
Similar to their weekly company-wide meeting, Googlers were able to post and vote on questions ahead of time through their internal Dory Q&A tool. However, Pichai revealed that those questions, along with questioners’ names, were leaked “externally” this afternoon.
As a result, Pichai notes that “on some websites Googlers are now being named personally.” With employees voicing their concerns, Google moved to cancel today’s Town Hall. In its place, the company will “create a better set of conditions for us to have the discussion.”
So in the coming days we will find several forums to gather and engage with Googlers, where people can feel comfortable to speak freely.
The full email from Sundar is below:
TL;DR Sorry for the late notice but we are going to cancel today’s Town Hall.
We had hoped to have a frank, open discussion today as we always do to bring us together and move forward. But our Dory questions appeared externally this afternoon, and on some websites Googlers are now being named personally. Googlers are writing in, concerned about their safety and worried they may be “outed” publicly for asking a question in the Town Hall.
In recognition of Googlers’ concerns, we need to step back and create a better set of conditions for us to have the discussion. So in the coming days we will find several forums to gather and engage with Googlers, where people can feel comfortable to speak freely. We’ll share details soon.
Over the past two days, I have had the chance to meet with so many people here, and I have read each of your emails carefully. The vast majority of you are very supportive of our decision. A smaller percentage of you wish we would do more. And some are worried that you cannot speak out at work freely. All of your voices and opinions matter…and I want to hear them.
In the meantime, let’s not forget what unites us as a company– our desire to build great products for everyone that make a big difference in their lives. I have been in a few product discussions today and felt energized by the important things we are working on. We can, and will continue, to come together to do the very best for the people we serve.