- Google employees have signed a petition asking that their company be banned from participating in or sponsoring San Francisco Pride this weekend.
- The petition, signed by almost 100 employees, follows a month in which Google has been widely criticised for its policies over controversies that have brought the company’s treatment of LGBTQ issues into question.
- San Francisco Pride organisers responded to the petition and said Google would remain a sponsor and a participant in the parade.
- Google told Business Insider that there was a counterpetition going around inside the company in support of the search giant having an official presence at the festivities.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Almost 100 Google employees have petitioned San Francisco Pride’s board of directors to exclude the company from marching in and sponsoring the parade.
In the open letter published Wednesday on Medium, employees asked San Francisco Pride to “not provide the company a platform that paints it in a rainbow veneer of support for those very persons.”
“We feel we have no choice but to urge you to reject Google’s failure to act in support of our community by revoking their sponsorship of Pride, and excluding Google from official representation in the Pride parade,” the petition reads.
San Francisco Pride takes place this weekend, with the parade set to be held on Sunday. Google is listed as one of San Francisco Pride’s sponsors. In response to the open letter,San Francisco Pride said in a statement that Google would be able to participate in and sponsor the weekend’s events.
“We’ve found that Google has been willing to listen to this criticism and is working to develop appropriate policies,” San Francisco Pride said in its statement. “They have acknowledged they have much work to do to promote respectful discussion and exchange of ideas.”
Google’s treatment of LGBTQ issues called into question
The open letter to San Francisco Pride’s board of directors comes after a month of controversies that have brought Google’s treatment of LGBTQ issues into question.
Earlier this month, Google decided not to remove videos posted to YouTube from the popular personality Steven Crowder, who used homophobic and racial slurs to refer to the Vox journalist Carlos Maza. Maza said Crowder’s videos had led to personal attacks from conservative reporters and multiple incidents in which his personal information had been compromised in a practice called “doxxing.”
However, YouTube said the videos didn’t violate the platform’s policies, but it did take away Crowder’s ability to make money from his videos. The decision to keep the videos up was met with widespread criticism not only from the public LGBTQ community but also from employees within the company who spoke out online using the hashtag #NoPrideinYT.
Google employees told Business Insider that the company’s handling of the matter was a serious detriment to morale, despite YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki apologizing to the LGBTQ community for inaction and Google CEO Sundar Pichai telling LGBTQ employees that the company would take a “hard look” at its harassment policies.
“Whenever we press for change, we are told only that the company will ‘take a hard look at these policies,'” the petition from Google employees circulated on Wednesday reads. “But we are never given a commitment to improve, and when we ask when these improvements will be made, we are always told to be patient.”
Google says there’s a counterpetition
Members of the LGBTQ community, including former Google employees, first petitioned San Francisco Pride to ban Google from participating in the parade soon after the company said it wouldn’t punish Crowder for his homophobic and racial slurs.
Google employees were then told on Monday they wouldn’t be allowed to march with the company float if they protested the company’s LGBTQ policies and that doing so would be in violation of Google’s code of conduct.
In response to Wednesday’s petition, a Google spokesperson reiterated the official stance that employees who wanted to speak out in protest against the company would be able to do so only if they attended San Francisco Pride in a personal capacity, rather than as part of the search giant’s own presence in the parade.
The spokesperson also told Business Insider that a counterpetition was circulating internally from employees who “are supportive of Google having a presence in the San Francisco Pride march.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.