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The demonstration, which conservative activist Jack Posobiec organized to protest the firing of engineer James Damore, who distributed this in-house memo about gender and business, was set for Saturday, August 19. The group, known by the monicker March on Google, planned to organize at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, CA, as well as at Google facilities in eight other cities around the country.
“We hope to hold our peaceful march in a few weeks’ time,” the group said.
The postponement comes in the wake of violence at an alt-right protest in Charlottesville, VA this past Saturday. During the march, a number of skirmishes allegedly broke out. After the rally had dissipated, an alleged neo-Nazi drove his car into a crowd of counter-demonstrators, injuring several and killing one.
One prospective “terrorist” allegedly threatened “to use an automobile to drive into the March on Google protest,” according to the group’s site, which also says “relevant authorities have been notified.”
The Mountain View police department told CNET that despite the postponement, law enforcement plan to “maintain a heightened presence” in the area “in an abundance of caution.”
Following the Charlottesville incident, March on Google posted a message condemning the events and asserting that March on Google was “in no way associated with any group who organized [in Charlottesville].”
“The March on Google condemns and disavows violence, hatred, and bigotry and all groups that espouse it such as White Nationalists, KKK, Antifa, and NeoNazis,” the group wrote in another post, which goes on to say that the protest event is “open to [those] from all backgrounds, ethnicity, and walks of life.”
The group claims its tenants were misrepresented by the media. “CNN and other mainstream media made malicious and false statements that our peaceful march was being organized by Nazi sympathizers,” the group’s website says.
Damore, whose memo, according to CNET, attributed the gender gap at Google to “biological differences between men and women” (CNET’s words) rather than institutional sexism, gave an interview to Stefan Molyneux, whom The Washington Post has described as “one of the alt-right’s biggest Youtube stars.”
A fundraiser for Damore has raised almost $50,000. The text describing the fundraiser indicates that it is sponsored by a far-right group. The fundraiser’s description says Damore was attacked by “the radical Left,” which “has been whipping up hate mobs to get independents, libertarians, conservatives, and simple contrarians publicly shamed, bullied, and fired from their jobs for years.”
Google, meanwhile, is taking flak from both sides of the political aisle. While groups on the right say the company’s termination of Damore violated his freedom of speech, others on the left blame Google for firing the engineer only after the issue went public.
Last Thursday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai canceled an “all-hands” meeting meant to address the memo controversy, after numerous employees reportedly voiced concerns about their privacy and personal safety. Several members of Google’s staff have been subject to online harassment of late, according to Wired.
“In recognition of Googlers’ [i.e. Google employees’] concerns, we need to step back and create a better set of conditions for us to have the discussion,” Pichai wrote to employees, per Recode, adding that “in the coming days” the company would “find several forums to gather and engage with Googlers, where people can feel comfortable to speak freely.”
Pichai has said the memo violated his company’s Code of Conduct and crossed “the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”
Recode further quotes the CEO as saying: “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.”
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons