by Sarah Jeong
Originally published: August 9, 2017
James Damore, formerly of Google, gave his first interview since the controversy around his internal memo erupted to “men’s rights activist” and alt-right ideologue Stefan Molyneux. In the interview on Tuesday, he said that he had written the memo—which argues that women are underrepresented at Google due to biological differences—after an upsetting experience at a “diversity program at Google.”
“It was ... not recorded, totally secretive,” he said. “I heard things that I definitely disagreed with in some of our programs. I had some discussions there. There was lots of just shaming and, 'No, you can't say that, that's sexist,' and, 'You can't do this.' There's just so much hypocrisy in the things they are saying. I decided to create the document to clarify my thoughts."
So what was the program that set off Damore? A person familiar with the matter tells The Verge that Damore attended a voluntary one-day summit around diversity and inclusion. The program was free for Googlers to attend, but they had to sign up for spaces in advance. Far from being secretive, some sessions were recorded and materials were sent out to participants after the summit.