Friday, 26 October 2018 09:14

Sex, lies and cover-ups: how Google rewards sexual harassers Featured

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Sex, lies and cover-ups: how Google rewards sexual harassers Pixabay

Google paid Andy Rubin, the creator of the Android mobile operating system, US$90 million when he left the company in 2014 over a sexual misconduct allegation, with a woman at the company having accused him of forcing her to perform oral sex.

The New York Times, in a detailed story following up on the news of Rubin's dismissal which was published in The Informant in November last year, said Google co-founder Larry Page had given Rubin a hero's sendoff when he left.

Rubin will get the last US$2 million of that payout next month. Google also invested millions in his next venture, a company named Essential, that produced a mobile phone last year.

Google's founders appear to have shown employees the way to behave with women: Page dated Marissa Mayer, one of the first engineers at Google, and later Yahoo! chief. Sergey Brin, the other co-founder, had a consensual extra-marital fling with an employee in 2014.

And Eric Schmidt, the current chairman of Google's parent Alphabet, retained a mistress of his to work as a company consultant. All these details were told to the NYT by sources and have not been denied by Google.

The company's general counsel from 2002, David Drummond, had an affair with senior contract manager Jennifer Blakely. They had a child too, after which Google made Blakely leave the legal department. Drummond is now the chief legal officer of Alphabet and has made about US$190 million from stock options and awards.

Blakely was made to sign papers that said she was leaving voluntarily!

There are plenty more gory details in the report which is well worth a read.

In response, Google chief Sundar Pichai and People Operations vice-president Ellen Naughton issued a statement that said the Times report was "difficult to read".

In the wake of all these happenings, they assured employees that "We are dead serious about making sure we provide a safe and inclusive workplace. We want to assure you that we review every single complaint about sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct, we investigate and we take action."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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