New York Times columnist David Brooks is defending James Damore, the senior software engineer who was fired from Google after his memo about gender diversity circulated within the company, by calling for the resignation of another Google employee: CEO Sundar Pichai.
“There are many actors in the whole Google/diversity drama, but I’d say the one who’s behaved the worst is the C.E.O., Sundar Pichai,” Brooks opens his piece.
Damore was fired on Monday after his memo was circulated within the tech company, and then obtained and published by media outlets over the weekend. The memo is 10 pages long, complete with headed sections, bullet points and explanatory paragraphs, and dives deeply into why it is more important to be open to conservative ideas than, say, gender equality in the workplace.
The document begins with several bullet points so readers can get the main gist without reading it in its entirety.
“Differences in distributions of traits between men and women may in part explain why we don’t have 50% representation of women in tech and leadership. Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business,” the employee writes.
Brooks defends Damore’s use of science in his column.
“Damore was tapping into the long and contentious debate about genes and behavior,” Brooks wrote. “On one side are those who believe that humans come out as blank slates and are formed by social structures. On the other are the evolutionary psychologists who argue that genes interact with environment and play a large role in shaping who we are. In general the evolutionary psychologists have been winning this debate.”
He continues: “In his memo, Damore cites a series of studies, making the case, for example, that men tend to be more interested in things and women more interested in people. (Interest is not the same as ability.) Several scientists in the field have backed up his summary of the data.”
Brooks cites some scientists that say Damore’s own citations are accurate, though other analysts have said the opposite.
Brooks also slams Google’s newly appointed diversity officer Danielle Brown and the media, saying, “The coverage of the memo has been atrocious.” He compares the free speech debate we’ve seen on college campuses like UC Berkeley to the memo situation: “The mob that hounded Damore was like the mobs we’ve seen on a lot of college campuses.”
Damore has been getting support from many right-wing audiences, and gave his first interviews after being fired to right-wing YouTubers. In an interview with Jordan B. Peterson, Damore said he didn’t want to speak with mainstream media because “they just want to twist whatever I say towards their agenda.”
In an interview that aired Wednesday on Bloomberg TV, Damore said “it really feels like they betrayed me in some way.”
Brooks calls Picahi’s memo to employees after Damore’s firing “a blatantly dishonest characterization of the memo.”
Brooks finishes: “We are at a moment when mobs on the left and the right ignore evidence and destroy scapegoats. That’s when we need good leaders most.”