Google is 'pausing' an internal talks series because of uninvited guests -- but one speaker says it's because of the culture wars

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  • Google is pausing a internal talks series because of logistical problems, a person familiar with the matter told Business Insider.
  • One speaker who had his talk cancelled tweeted that he was “Damore’d” and said it was because of things he had written.
  • Google has been rocked by debates about diversity in recent months.

Google is “pausing” Talks At Google, an informal internal speakers series, because of multiple problems in the past week where speakers have brought uninvited guests and generally caused chaos at the company’s Mountain View, California campus, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The news comes on the same day that Wired published a look at an internal debate about diversity at the company, which said that diversity advocates at Google reportedly say they’re being targeted by a group of their coworkers who disagree with their views, and who are sharing internal communications and personal information with sites like Breitbart.

But that’s not the reason for the pause in Talks At Google, the person said. It was purely logistical, restricted to Mountain View, and mainly related to recent uninvited guests brought by a speaker who caused problems on campus.

Talks At Google is a regular series where notable people give talks to Google employees. Many of these talks are uploaded to YouTube, and the series has featured controversial people in the past, including speakers critical of Google and politicians on the right.

I “just got Damore’d”

Antonio Garcia-MartinezFacebookAntonio García Martínez.

An author who wrote a book about what it was like to work at Facebook in earlier years said on Friday that he had a talk suddenly cancelled at Google, and that he believed the reason was related to controversial things he had written.

Antonio García Martínez published the book “Chaos Monkeys” in 2016, and the New York Times subsequently called it “a valley account like no other.” But one particular paragraph in the book, in which Martínez describes the Silicon Valley dating scene in decidedly chauvinistic terms, may have set off alarm bells at Google.

Martinez’ talk, which Google was planning to film for a YouTube series called “Talks at Google,” was supposed to be about ads and how they work, not the book. But he saysthe book was the reason the talk was cancelled.

https://twitter.com/antoniogm/status/956961016138444800?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Martinez provided a screenshot of the paragraph to Business Insider:

JydDejjTAntonio Garcia Martinez

“That’s the one going on my tombstone. Assuming I don’t die bankrupt because of it, and end up in a mass grave somewhere,” he said in a DM.

Last year, Google fired James Damore, a rank-and-file software engineer who wrote an infamous memo in which he implied that women did not have the genetic predisposition for engineering jobs. The leaked memo and his firing became international news.

“Being persona non grata to [Google] is not something I’d necessarily want,” Martínez subsequently tweeted.

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