James Damore, the Google engineer sacked for writing a controversial memo about the company’s diversity policies, has continued to court a right-wing and alt-right audience in the days since his firing.
This time, he’s done a photoshoot with a photographer famous for photographing alt-right figures, Peter Duke.
Duke has snapped would-be journalist and conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich, ex-Breitbart journalist Milo Yiannopoulos, and activist Anthime Gionet — better known online as Baked Alaska. The New York Times dubbed Duke “the Annie Leibovitz of the Alt-right” and said he does the shoots pro bono.
According to images published on Twitter, Damore had a photoshoot on Thursday with Duke outside what looks like the merchandise store on Google’s Mountain View campus. Damore is dressed in a t-shirt with an altered version of the Google logo that reads “Goolag”. That logo emerged over the last few days and went viral on Reddit and Twitter for its implication that Google is an authoritarian regime that represses freedom of speech.
Damore is also pictured holding a sign saying “Fired for truth” and, in other photos, wearing a t-shirt that simply says “Truth”.
The images were posted on Twitter by a user called @Fired4Truth, purporting to be Damore. It isn’t certain this actually is Damore, but there are two signs of the account’s veracity: the pictures themselves, and the fact that Duke tagged @Fired4Truth on his own Twitter account with the caption: “Not all heroes wear capes.”
The photoshoot, plus Damore’s recent interviews, suggest he plans to entrench his position as a hero to right-wingers, who (possibly wrongly) equate his firing to the suppression of free speech. In the days since his firing, Damore chose to give his first major interviews to two right-wing YouTube personalities: Stefan Molyneux, and Jordan B. Peterson. On Wednesday, he also gave a long interview to Bloomberg, where he said he felt “betrayed” by Google.
In his memo, Damore essentially argued that the gender gap in tech couldn’t be entirely explained by bias, and that there were “population level differences” between the sexes that might explain their career choices. Lots of people, including some of Damore’s former colleagues at Google, saw an implicit suggestion that women were somehow inferior software engineering in men, though Damore has said he doesn’t think this. The memo leaked last weekend and, on Monday, he was fired. Google’s chief executive, Sundar Pichai, said his views were “not OK”. Damore has filed a complaint with the US Labour Relations Board.
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