A Googler vividly described the 'disastrous' leadership meeting that sparked a giant protest over sexual misconduct
Troy Wolverton/Business Insider
- The Google Walkout organizers told Recode's Kara Swisher about the "disastrous" internal meeting which sparked the mass protest over sexual harassment.
- The so-called TGIF meetings are hosted by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, where any employee can ask any question.
- YouTube exec Claire Stapleton said management's "dismissive" approach to questions about a New York Times exposé on sexual misconduct at Google was a turning point.
- "It was a very awkward, hollow, somewhat disastrous TGIF," she said.
Google held its so-called TGIF meeting - in which founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin field questions from staff - the day after the New York Times report was published.According to YouTube marketing executive Stapleton, the atmosphere at recent TGIF meetings had become increasingly tense, and the New York Times report was "a major reckoning moment for the culture building upon all this anxiety."
Getty/Michael Kovac/Kimberly White
"The real turning point for me was the way that the execs handled it that day at the TGIF that followed," she said.
"Googlers, as always, showed up. I mean, they had really smart thoughts. They brought their outrage, but it was also constructive ideas and questions."I think that it was a very awkward, hollow, somewhat disastrous TGIF which, you know, has been much-reported, but we needed to see accountability and commitment, and neither happened."
"There was a kind of dismissiveness to it"
Stapleton added that to begin with, the presentation didn't even address the New York Times story, but rather carried on as previously planned by discussing Google Photos.
She said: "The optics were really tough because like I said, the community was gripped by this. And I think it was the sort of moment where we needed to hear that the system needs to change."We needed to see a genuine commitment to that, and I think it was ... There was a kind of dismissiveness to it. There was a sort of, 'we care. We're going to follow up on this.' It did not at all match the urgency and intensity of what happened."
In the end, 20,000 Googlers left their desks in protest, with five demands to change Google's management of sexual misconduct and discrimination claims. While Google acquiesced to some of the demands, the organizers said they feel there is still work to do - and that senior management needs to re-engage.When asked who she'd like to see take the reins, Stapleton said: "Larry and Sergey, where are they?"
Business Insider has contacted Google for comment.Get the latest Google stock price here.
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