Perhaps the most interesting part of former Google engineer James Damore’s memo on company diversity came as an addendum, after it caused an internal furor, but before he was fired.
“I’ve gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude,” Damore wrote, for his 10-page memo arguing that women’s under-representation in tech was in large part biological — that women are neurotic and thus less able to deal with stress, less interested in ideas than feelings, and less driven to achieve a high status.
Those Googlers “would never have the courage to say or defend [these ideas] because of our shaming culture and the possibility of getting fired,” he added, positioning himself as free-speech martyr, one who perhaps expected to be fired. And then on Monday, of course, he was.
The memo has plunged Silicon Valley into yet another controversy over sexism. But it’s the company Damore is keeping in the wake of the scandal that’s most illuminating.
Far from seeking broad dialogue, as his memo purports, Damore has aligned himself with the alt-right, a home of racism, misogyny and xenophobia.
Since the scandal broke, he’s only given interviews to two men, both Canadian, both online personalities, both on the fringe of the right. Stefan Molyneux’s pro-Trump, conspiracy theory-laden Youtube channel mimic’s Infowar’s Alex Jones with such episodes as “Why feminists hate men,” “Why liberals hate freedom” and “Christian genocide, the ugly truth.” Damore’s other interview with Jordan Peterson, the Toronto professor made famous for his opposition to gender-neutral pronouns, has been deleted. (One imagines Ezra Levant fuming that The Rebel didn’t make the cut.)
Few Canadians likely know who Peterson and Molyneux are, let alone the average American. So how could Damore have chosen them if he wasn’t at least familiar, and likely aligned, with their views?
The same day he was fired, Damore reportedly filed a complaint with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board, and then asked supporters to start a legal aid crowdfunding campaign that blames the “radical Left” for his firing (it’s raised $33,745 U.S. of $60,000). He launched it on “WeSearchr” — a crowdfunding site where others are hoping to “expose Antifa,” and fund an investigation into the death of Democratic staffer Seth Rich (a conspiracy theory peddled by Fox News).
The phrase “radical Left” doesn’t appear in Damore’s memo, but the title, “Google’s ideological echo chamber,” borrows from the phraseology of the alt-right free-speech movement, which conflates legitimate consequences for speech (like losing your job) with an infringement on the first amendment.
According to Business Insider, Damore told Peterson that he didn’t turn to mainstream media because “they just want to twist whatever I say towards their agenda.”
He also said he’s searching for “a more objective way of looking at things,” which, seems to align him with a very-supportive Breitbart. Just as Damore’s memo has come to light (favourably covered by Breitbart), Breitbart has launched a “Rebels of Google” series, purportedly interviewing anonymous Google employees about “partisan bias” and “social justice warriors.”
For a man who’s claimed he values “diversity and inclusion,” these are some very odd — and prejudicial — bedfellows. And for a man who appears soft-spoken and surprised by his firing in the interview with Moyneaux, quite the plan of counterattack.