- Google was thrust back into the #MeToo spotlight on Wednesday, when a former Google employee Jennifer Blakely posted an essay on Medium alleging that she had an affair with her boss, Google’s chief legal counsel David Drummond, and that she suffered emotional abuse.
- An October 2018 New York Times investigation reported that three Google executives – Andy Rubin, Amit Singhal and Richard DeVaul – were accused of sexual misconduct and consequently left the company. Rubin and Singhal received multi-million dollar exit packages.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Google was thrust back into the #MeToo spotlight on Wednesday, when a former Google employee Jennifer Blakely posted an essay on Medium alleging that she had an affair with David Drummond, Google’s chief legal counsel.
Though Blakely did not accuse Drummond of sexual misconduct in her essay, she outlines a disturbing power dynamic and describes suffering emotional abuse.
After their son was born in 2007, Blakely was bumped from Google’s legal department (where both she and Drummond worked) to the sales department, a field in which she had no experience and consequently struggled. Ultimately, she explains, “I quit Google, signing whatever documents they required because likewise, I wanted to protect him,” meaning Drummond.
According to Blakely, Drummond left her in 2008 and began an affair with another Google employee. She then suffered years of emotional abuse, saying Drummond refused to see their son and did not provide child support until he was four years old.
“Looking back, I see how standards that I was willing to indulge early on became institutionalized behaviour as Google’s world prominence grew and its executives grew more powerful,” Blakely wrote.
“For me, the abuse of power didn’t stop with being pushed out,” Blakely’s essay continues. “Afterwards I was pushed down, lest I got in the way of the behaviour that had become even more oppressive and entitled.”
Drummond said in a personal statement that he was “far from perfect,” but he pushed back against some of Blakely’s claims, saying that there are “two sides” to the story.
Drummond was the second highest paid executive at Google parent company Alphabet in 2018. Public filings show he received $US47 million in compensation, with a salary of $US650,000 and $US46.6 million as equity.
An October 2018 New York Times investigation reported that three Google executives – Andy Rubin, Amit Singhal and Richard DeVaul – were accused of sexual misconduct. The Times reported that Rubin and Singhal were given multi-million dollar exit packages when they left Google in 2014 and 2016, respectively. The Times also reported that the woman who accused DeVaul of misconduct said a Google human resources official told her to stay quiet (Google disputed that claim).
One week after the Times published its report, roughly 20,000 Google employees participated in a global walkout protesting the company’s handling of instances of sexual misconduct.
Read about three former Google executives who have been accused of sexual misconduct below:
Andy Rubin — Founder of Android, former SVP of mobile and digital content
Andy Rubin‘s fall from grace in the tech world has dragged out over two years.
The inventor of Android – the OS used by nearly 87% of world’s smartphones – has had a 30-year career in software engineering in Silicon Valley. Google acquired Android in 2005, and Rubin served as a senior vice president at Google for nearly a decade. He left Google in 2014, and then he started venture firm Playground Global in 2015 and Android smartphone maker Essential in 2016.
Rubin’s life seemed to be on track as one of the heroes of the modern tech world until a set of explosive news reports from 2017 to 2019 characterised Rubin as an antagonist in the #MeToo movement.
In November 2017, The Information reported that Rubin left Google because “an internal investigation determined he had carried on an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate.” In October 2018,The New York Times reported that Google paid Rubin a $US90 million exit package in 2014, even after finding out that the woman Rubin had an affair with alleged that “he coerced her into performing oral sex in a hotel room in 2013.” The Times also reported that Google’s board of directors gave Rubin an “unusually generous sum” of $US150 million in stock grants just weeks into his sexual harassment investigation.
Ex-wife Rie Hirabaru Rubin brought a civil-suit against Andy Rubin in October 2018, accusing him of having extramarital “ownership relationships.” And in July 2019, she accused Rubin of running what was described as “a sex ring” in unsealed court documents shared by Buzzfeed.
In the weeks following the sex ring revelation, Rubin has been quiet. He is still listed as Essential’s CEO on the company’s team page.
Amit Singhal — Former senior VP of search operations
The New York Times reported in October 2018 that then-senior VP of search operations Amit Singhal groped an employee at a 2015 “boozy off-site event attended by dozens of colleagues.” Google told the Times that Singhal was found to be drunk, and though there were no witnesses, they found the employee’s claim to be credible.
In 2016 Singhal announced that he would be leaving Google; the Times cited a blog post by Singhal that attributed his departure to a desire to focus on family and philanthropy. He was hired by Uber in 2017 to be the company’s SVP for engineering, according to the Times. Uber swiftly dismissed Singhal, less than one month after hiring him, for failing to disclose the alleged sexual harassment at Google, also according to the Times.
Business Insider obtained a lawsuit in March 2019 with a complaint stating that Google gave Singhal a $US45 million exit package (though he ultimately only received $US15 million because he joined Uber, which violated the non-compete agreement of his exit package).
Richard DeVaul — Project Loon cofounder, former Alphabet X director
The New York Times reported in October 2018 that Richard DeVaul interviewed hardware engineer Star Simpson for a job in 2013; during the interview, he disclosed to Simpson that he and his wife were polyamorous. He then invited Simpson to Burning Man, the annual arts festival in the middle of the Nevada desert beloved by tech moguls.
Simpson viewed the invitation as “an opportunity to talk to Mr. DeVaul about the job,” according to the Times, and she went. At the festival, DeVaul requested that Simpson remove her shirt and suggested that he rub her back. Simpson refused but allowed him to rub her neck.
Simpson was not hired at Google. She reported the Burning Man encounter to Google two years later; Simpson conveyed to the Times that a human resources official told her to stay quiet (Google disputed that claim). In a statement provided to the Times, DeVaul called the event an “error of judgement” and disclosed that he thought Simpson had been told she was not being hired by Google before Burning Man.
DeVaul left Google one week after the Times report was published. He exited without a severance package, according to Axios.
DeVaul founded Bay Area consulting firm Hypersolve in 2018, and is currently working as its executive innovation consultant, according ot his LinkedIn profile.
Got a tip on allegations of sexual misconduct at Google? Reach this article’s writer, Rebecca Aydin, via email at [email protected]