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2 Google engineers quit over the firing of senior Black employees: 'They were wronged.'

Martin Coulter   

2 Google engineers quit over the firing of senior Black employees: 'They were wronged.'
  • Two software engineers have quit Google, citing the treatment of two Black employees.
  • Internal staffing disputes have spilled over into public view, most notably with the departure of AI ethics lead Timnit Gebru.
  • Engineer David Baker said the recent issues had 'extinguished' his desire to continue as a Googler.

A pair of senior Google engineers have resigned from the company, citing its treatment of two Black employees.

In December, the tech giant saw staffing issues spill into public view after lead AI ethicist Timnit Gebru said she was fired over an email she sent to an internal company group, and a dispute over an academic paper she was working on.

Later in December, diversity recruiter April Christina Curley claimed she had been sacked following a series of disputes with her managers.

Now two senior software engineers, David Baker and Vinesh Kannan, have resigned, citing the company's recent treatment of Gebru and Curley.

Read more: Firings, reorgs and flaring tensions: Inside the last two months of turmoil at Google's AI division

In a letter seen by Reuters, Baker, who previously focused on user safety at the company, said the departures of Gebru and Curley had "extinguished my desire to continue as a Googler," and prompted him to resign in January.

He added: "We cannot say we believe in diversity and then ignore the conspicuous absence of many voices from within our walls."

Meanwhile, Kannen, who had focused on search, tweeted on Wednesday that he had left the company because "Google's mistreatment of @TimnitGebru and @RealAbril crossed a personal red line."

"I know I gained a lot from Google," he wrote. "But I also gained a lot from both of their work. And they were wronged."

The search engine behemoth has faced mounting pressure to deal with employee dissatisfaction in recent months, which culminated in the formation of a minority union of around 800 Googlers last month.

Google has about 132,121 worldwide employees, according to its quarterly reports.

The firm has disputed both Gebru and Curley's accounts of their departures.

In a recent World Economic Forum appearance, CEO Sundar Pichai said Google's recent infighting had become publicly visible because the company is "more transparent" than its rivals.

Insider approached Google for comment.

Are you a current or former Googler or DeepMinder with more to share? You can contact this reporter securely using the encrypted messaging app Signal (+447801985586) or email ( Reach out using a non-work device.


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