- Photo Credit: Travis Wise, CC 2.0
Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Don Shooter, Louis C.K., Matt Lauer, and Charlie Rose are all men who have recently faced the consequences of inappropriate sexual advances and similar misconduct.
Over the last several months, a number of men have been accused of various forms of sexual harassment and assault. Actors, legislators, and CEOs have all been affected, and the tech industry is no stranger to sexual harassment allegations.
Emily Chang, a journalist with Bloomberg TV, opened the door into the “boys club” atmosphere in Silicon Valley in her book, Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys Club of Silicon Valley, which was released in February 2018, and now, perhaps the biggest name in tech is under the spotlight: Google.
New York Times Article
Last week, The New York Times published an article titled How Google Protected Andy Rubin, the ‘Father of Android.’ It exposed Google and its executives for how it handled Andy Rubin’s (the creator of its Android technology) separation from the company.
Apparently, Mr. Rubin had been accused of sexual misconduct, the company found the woman’s complaint credible, and Larry Page (a Google co-founder) asked Mr. Rubin for his resignation. What is disturbing, however, is that Google gave Mr. Rubin a $90 million severance package, payable in installments of $2 million per month. The last payment is scheduled for November 2018.
Not only did Google offer up an eight-figure severance, but they also turned right around and invested in another company Mr. Rubin was starting. The New York Times article also gives a number of other examples of high-level executives or staff members that were fired from Google for sexual misconduct, but Google awarded them severance packages – which they were under no legal obligation to offer – and kept silent about the accusations.
Andy Rubin, through his representatives, denies the claims and says his separation from Google was his own decision, and he was unaware of any accusations. He also claims the whole story was taken from court documents filed by his ex-wife in their ongoing divorce and it’s all completely untrue.
After the publication of the New York Times article, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Larry Page were asked by their employees at a weekly staff meeting how the company planned to turn things around and improve the handling of sexual harassment violations of its employees at every level. In response, Mr. Pichai stated, “We want to get better, and we want to get to a place where it truly reflects our values of respect, particularly respect for each other.”
After that weekly staff meeting, Mr. Pichai and Eileen Naughton, Google’s Vice President for People Operations, sent out a company-wide email claiming that 48 people had been fired from Google over the past two years for sexual harassment and that the company is “…committed to ensuring that Google is a workplace where you can feel safe to do your best work, and where there are serious consequences for anyone who behaves inappropriately.”