Google gave Android creator $90M in exit pay after sexual misconduct allegation: report

Google gave Android creator $90M in exit pay after sexual misconduct allegation: report
© Getty Images

Google reportedly gave Android creator Andy Rubin $90 million in severance pay when he left the company in 2014 following a sexual misconduct allegation, despite having no contractual obligation to offer the money.

The New York Times reports that Google initially stayed quiet about the misconduct allegation, which was later reported by the tech news site The Information, and heaped praise on Rubin during his exit.

Google later invested in the venture capital firm that Rubin started.

According to sources cited by the Times, an employee accused Rubin of coercing her into performing oral sex on him in a hotel room in 2013. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The two had been carrying out an extramarital relationship at the time, which the employee decided to end as a result of the incident, the Times reported.

Larry Page, the Google co-founder who was CEO at the time, reportedly asked for Rubin’s resignation after an internal investigation found the employee’s claim credible.

A spokesman for Rubin denied that he had ever engaged in misconduct and said that “any relationship that Mr. Rubin had while at Google was consensual and did not involve any person who reported directly to him.”

Eileen Naughton, Google’s vice president of people operations, told the Times in a statement that the company takes harassment allegations seriously.

“We investigate and take action, including termination,” Naughton said. “In recent years, we’ve taken a particularly hard line on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority. We’re working hard to keep improving how we handle this type of behavior.”

According to a lawsuit filed by Rubin's former wife, the executive had multiple “ownership relationships” with other women and paid them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The suit included a screenshot of an email Rubin sent to one of the women in which he wrote, “You will be happy being taken care of. Being owned is kinda like you are my property, and I can loan you to other people.”

In another instance detailed in the Times’s report, David Drummond, who is now the chief legal officer at Google parent company Alphabet, had a relationship with an employee in Google’s legal department, Jennifer Blakely, while he was general counsel.

After the couple had a child, they disclosed the relationship to Google, which decided to transfer Blakely to sales. She later decided to leave the company, while Drummond went on to be promoted. The two later split up and engaged in a custody battle over their child.

In yet another instance reported in the story, Richard DeVaul, a director at Google X, allegedly made inappropriate advances on a woman he was interviewing for a job. Google ultimately decided not to hire her.

And when an employee accused senior vice president Amit Singhal of groping her at an office event, the executive resigned and Google paid him millions like it did with Rubin, according the Times.

Google did not disclose the accusation, and Singhal went on to join Uber as head of engineering.