Google CEO Sundar Pichai canceled the company's all-hands meeting after employees expressed concern over online harassment. The town hall, which was scheduled to take place on Thursday afternoon, was going to address James Damore's controversial memo about gender diversity.
"We had hoped to have a frank, open discussion today as we always do to bring us together and move forward," Pichai wrote to employees. "Googlers are writing in, concerned about their safety and worried they may be 'outed' publicly for asking a question in the Town Hall."
The saga began when Damore penned an internal memo last week attributing gender inequality in the tech industry to biological differences. It went viral over the weekend and on Monday Pichai fired the software engineer. Pichai said in an email to staff that "to suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK."
Ahead of Pichai's meeting, which was going to address Google's 60,000 employees, workers said they began to experience "doxxing," or online harassment that involves the publishing of private or identifying information about a particular person. Staffers said their names were published outside the company and on several alt-right sites. What's more, conservative media personality Milo Yiannopoulos posted on Facebook the biographies of eight Google employees who criticized Damore's post.
"In recognition of Googlers' concerns, we need to step back and create a better set of conditions for us to have the discussion," Sundar wrote in his email. "So in the coming days we will find several forums to gather and engage with Googlers, where people can feel comfortable to speak freely."