Google Cancels Meeting on Diversity, Citing Safety Concerns for Employees


Google canceled a companywide meeting about diversity just before it was set to begin Thursday, citing safety concerns after right-wing commentators published the names of certain employees.

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai had scheduled the meeting in the wake of his firing this week of software engineer James Damore, who wrote and distributed a memo that argued biological differences between men and women explain the gender gap among tech workers.

Shortly before the highly anticipated meeting’s scheduled 4 p.m. start in California, Mr. Pichai said in an email to staff that Google decided to cancel after employees expressed concerns “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,” Mr. Pichai said, adding that the company would find other ways to gather and engage employees on the subject in the coming days.

Google’s firing of Mr. Damore has sparked debate within Google and nationwide about the company’s diversity program and whether it is intolerant of conservative viewpoints. Executives were expected to face difficult questions from employees upset over the firing at Thursday’s meeting.