Dems demand answers on controversial Google memo

A group of House Democrats wants answers from Google about a divisive internal memo that criticized the internet search giant’s diversity initiatives.

In a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, the group applauded the company for firing the author of the memo but expressed concern that the note was indicative of a larger problem in Silicon Valley.

“Unfortunately, the disclosure of this manifesto and release of recent diversity numbers by a number of tech companies, serve as further reminders that the very companies that aim to lead us into a connected future, maintain work environments that mirror America’s less inclusive past," the letter reads.

The letter, sent Tuesday, was signed by Democratic Reps. Robin Kelly (Ill.), Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), Jamie Raskin (Md.) and Jan Schakowsky (Ill.).

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Google this week fired the author of the controversial memo, which argued that women are not as prevalent in jobs like computer programming in part because they are more susceptible to “neuroticism.”

The episode has become a flashpoint for wider debates over sexism and political correctness, which conservatives say suppresses dissenting voices in liberal bastions like Silicon Valley.

The House Democrats asked Google to explain how it plans to prevent similar episodes in the future and what it is doing to increase the number of women and minorities in its workforce.

“It is no secret that the tech industry has a diversity problem and Google is no exception,” the members wrote. “While this memo might not reflect the views of Google as a company, the discriminatory beliefs espoused within the memo points to a problematic culture and mindset that persists within the tech industry as a whole."

A Google spokeswoman did not immediately respond when asked to comment on the letter.

The fired Google employee has defended his memo and said he is “not a sexist” in interviews with two YouTube channels.