Google employees around the world are staging a mass walkout Thursday in protest of sexual misconduct.
It follows a bombshell New York Times report last week that named executives who had been accused of sexual misconduct, including Andy Rubin, the creator of the mobile operating system Android. Rubin denied any misconduct.
Thousands of workers are expected to take part in the protest, which calls for people in Google’s offices to walk away from their desk at 11 a.m. in their respective time zone. Protesters are using the hashtag #GoogleWalkout. Employees in New York, London, Tokyo, and Berlin are among those to have already taken part.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said he supported the protests and was listening to his staff. “We are aware of the activities planned for Thursday and that employees will have the support they need if they wish to participate,” he said.
Business Insider is covering the Google walkout live. Refresh this page for updates.
Shona Ghosh and Sean Wolfe were on the scene in London and New York respectively. Matt Weinberger and Katie Canales were on the scene in San Francisco, and Troy Wolverton was on the scene in Mountain View.
Google employees in Singapore were among the first to observe the walkout.
As 11.10 a.m. rolled around in Europe, other Google offices took part. This picture was posted from Zurich by a software engineer named Danila Sinopalnikov.
One protester brought a megaphone to the walkout.
“People are sharing stories about harassment, microaggressions, inefficient process, broken culture,” said a Twitter user named Ted, who described himself as a Google privacy engineer.
Another decided to come as a Stormtrooper from “Star Wars.” The placard said: “I work on a Death Star but even I know not to sexually assault people.”
Berlin Googlers stood in front of the iconic Brandenburg Gate.
Rainfall kept some Londoners indoors, but that did not stop them from making their feelings known.
Business Insider reporter Shona Ghosh was at Google’s St Giles Street offices.
An employee taking part in the walkout told her: “I’m proud that we’re now supporting everyone, and hopefully now gives them a voice which most seem to feel they have not had before.”
She was told that workers at the Victoria office had a talk about the issues they’re raising with management, including a call for a transparency report on sexual harassment.
A Googler from London’s Camden office who shared this picture said stories shared during the walkout were “heartbreaking.”
Though many London Googlers stayed inside to avoid the rain, some decided to brave the elements. Staff members were reluctant to talk to reporters, however.
Google employees in Dublin also showed their solidarity for the cause. The RTE journalist Will Goodbody posted this video:
Here is Kate, the Google Dublin “Walkout for Real Change” coordinator addressing the crowd. pic.twitter.com/iZFhHAJ9VO
— Will Goodbody (@willgoodbody) November 1, 2018
And the Irish Googlers brought doughnuts.
After the protests in Europe, the east coast of America began making preparations. These signs showed the walkout would spill over into other areas of concern.
Project Maven was Google’s now-abandoned plan to build artificial intelligence tools for the US military, which caused some employees to resign in protest.
Throngs of reporters were waiting for Google staff to protest in New York City. Business Insider’s Sean Wolfe was on the scene.
Wolfe followed the Googlers as they made their way towards the High Line.
protest is moving toward the high line. sidewalks are pretty crowded at this point and police are trying to keep people off the street pic.twitter.com/NhStbJq4ID
— sean (@guy_who_sucks) November 1, 2018
There was a marked police presence accompanying the workers.
Women waved placards as they marched.
Hundreds of employees gathered at Hudson River Park.
Here is an aerial view of protesters swarming the park.
“We will bring the consequences,” said one Googler in a rallying call to staff. “Every single person here has the tools to change Google.”
— Andrea Russell (@andreagrussell) November 1, 2018
A two-minute silence was observed in Austin, Texas.
Austin Statesman reporter Sebastian Herrera got footage of staff at the Austin office deep in thought for the victims of sexual harassment.
— Sebastian Herrera (@SebasAHerrera) November 1, 2018
Away from the US, there were walkouts in Tokyo, Japan…
…and Haifa, Israel, where Google has a small office of fewer than 100 people.
The organisers behind the walkout published an article outlining their stance.
Googlers Claire Stapleton, Tanuja Gupta, Meredith Whittaker, Celie O’Neil-Hart, Stephanie Parker, Erica Anderson, and Amr Gaber cowrote a piece in The Cut detailing their reasons for organising the walkout.
“The executive team has demonstrated through their lack of meaningful action that our safety is not a priority,” they wrote.
The protesters have five demands.
— Google Walkout For Real Change (@GoogleWalkout) November 1, 2018
Google employees began to leave their office in Mountain View, California. Business Insider’s Troy Wolverton was on the scene.
There were plenty of media members on scene in Mountain View.
Googlers in Mountain View were converging in a plaza near the office. Security was on scene and didn’t let unauthorised people, including the press, get any closer.
There appeared to be hundreds of Google employees participating in the Mountain View walkout.
— Troy Wolverton (@troywolv) November 1, 2018
Even 20 minutes after the protest in Mountain View began, Google employees were still streaming in.
30 minutes after the Valley View walkout began, the protest was still ongoing. Some employees had begun to file out, however.
“It was great,” said one female Googler who declined to give her name, but had just come from the walkout in Mountain View. “it was the start of the movement.”
Another female Googler wearing a teal ribbon on her shirt said she was “proud of all the women who got up there to tell their stories.”
Some Mountain View Googlers remained after the bulk of the walkout had died down to talk to the press and continue to protest. One of those Googlers was Celie O’Neil-Heart, one of the organisers of the walkout.
O’Neil-Heart said the New York Times story about Rubin’s exit package was the “$US90 million straw that broke the camel’s back.” She said that although this news just recently came to light publicly, Googlers have been raising issues internally and the walkout “really represents a movement that’s been at Google for a long time.”
“We do feel heard (by management),” O’Neil-Heart said. “And we look forward to seeing action.”
Here are some of the signs that protestors carried at the Mountain View walkout:
Some protestors put a walkout sign on Bugdroid, Google’s Android mascot.
Googlers were also walking out in San Francisco. “You’re going to get fired, but it will be worth it,” said an organiser with a megaphone, encouraging people to come up to the front with their signs. Some protestors chanted “Not OK, Google.”
Google employees were chanting “time’s up in tech,” “time’s up at Google,” and “enough is enough.” Protestors filled up the Ferry Building Plaza.
There appeared to be hundreds of people at the San Francisco protest. Event organisers were reading anonymous stories of toxic workplace behaviour at Google.
Here are some photos of signs and protestors from the San Francisco walkout, taken by Business Insider’s Katie Canales.
The San Francisco walkout ended after about 35 minutes.
CEO Sundar Pichai said he supported the walkout.
Pichai told Business Insider in a statement that management supported the protest:
“We let Googlers know that we are aware of the activities planned for Thursday and that employees will have the support they need if they wish to participate,” he said.
But a Google engineer named Liz Fong-Jones encouraged the press to shift their focus away from Pichai’s support.
All of the headlines that start with "Google CEO supports…" are focusing on the wrong thing.
What matters today is workers' voices and demands.
It doesn't matter whether management claims to support; the real test will be whether the demands are met. #GoogleWalkout
— Liz Fong-Jones (方禮真) (@lizthegrey) November 1, 2018