Google has protected three executives at the company who were accused of sexual misconduct over the past decade, according to an explosive new report from the New York Times. Andy Rubin, who left the company in October of 2014, and two other executives had claims of sexual misconduct brought against them. Instead of taking a hard stance against the individuals, Google protected them and — in two instances — gave the executives generous compensation packages.
When Andy Rubin left Google, then-CEO Larry Page gave the Android mobile software creator a warm send-off.
“I want to wish Andy all the best with what’s next. With Android he created something truly remarkable — with a billion-plus happy users,” Page said.
Prior to his departure, Rubin was accused by an employee of having coerced her into performing oral sex on him. The two were having an extramarital relationship at the time, and Google was made aware of — and investigated — the claim. Rubin was asked to resign.
As part of his exit, Rubin was given a $90 million compensation package, paid over four years.
In two other instances, the company provided cover for senior executives who were also accused of misconduct. In one case, the executive in question was asked to leave. In another, the executive in question remained with the company. Google kept silent about both instances, and the ousted employee in the former case was also given a large exit package.
The New York Times spoke with dozens of Google employees, including individuals who had handled the three accusations. According to those witnesses — though the compensation and severity of the cases was varied — Google’s silence on the matter was consistent. In all cases, the company had worked to protect its own interests.
“In settling on terms favorable to two of the men, Google protected its own interests. The company avoided messy and costly legal fights, and kept them from working for rivals as part of the separation agreements,” said the New York Times report.
Rubin’s spokesman Sam Singer says that Rubin left Google on his own terms, and did not engage in any misconduct.
“Any relationship that Mr. Rubin had while at Google was consensual and did not involve any person who reported directly to him,” said Singer.
“When Google covers up harassment and passes the trash, it contributes to an environment where people don’t feel safe reporting misconduct,” said activist and Google engineer Liz Fong-Jones.
Rubin acted as Google’s senior vice president in 2011, and received about $20 million a year in compensation. When Rubin left, Google invested in Playground Global, a venture firm started by Rubin.