No corporations at Pride, just Google employees pointing out the hypocrisy of their company.
Nearly 100 Google employees are taking the lead on calling out empty displays of corporate pride at this year’s San Francisco Pride parade next weekend by protesting their own company’s attendance, according to Bloomberg. Employees are asking that the event’s board of directors drop Google as a sponsor in response to the company’s weak commitment to changing how it addresses hate speech online, specifically the way the company completely botched punishing right-wing personality Steven Crowder for his homophobic and racist YouTube videos harassing Vox journalist Carlos Maza.
Writing in a letter to be sent to the San Francisco Pride board of directors, Googlers said that “whenever we press for change, we are told only that the company will ‘take a hard look at these policies.’”
“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. We are told to wait,” the letter continues. “For a large company, perhaps waiting is prudent, but for those whose very right to exist is threatened, we say there is no time to waste, and we have waited too long, already.”
Gizmodo reported on the percolating Googler pushback earlier this month. Internally, employees petitioned for rainbow branding to be removed from YouTube, arguing that it contradicted the company’s handling of homophobia on the platform. Among themselves, employees encouraged those marching with Google at Pride-related events in New York, San Francisco, and London to display signs of protest. Others who weren’t marching with Google were encouraged to tell the company why.
“There’s a lot of unhappiness, especially in Gayglers and other LGBTQ-related groups,” a Google employee told Gizmodo at the time. “YouTube’s public Twitter admitted the content was hurtful, which violates the written policies, but nevertheless refused to take it down. Demonetization feels like a slap on the wrist in this case, they should at least be taking down the relevant videos.”