Google Has Fired Almost 50 People Over Sexual Harassment Claims In The Past Two Years

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Google revealed it has sacked 48 people over sexual misconduct claims since 2016, including 13 senior managers, the BBC reports.

Chief executive Sundar Pichai sent out a an email to all employees, saying that the company takes a hard stance when it comes to sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior claims. His statement came after the New York Times ran a story that claimed Android creator Andy Rubin received the hefty sum of $90 million when he left the tech giant in 2014, despite facing misconduct allegations.

Pichai said that the New York Times article was “difficult to read,” but that Google was “dead serious” about providing its employees a “safe and inclusive workplace.”

“We want to assure you that we review every single complaint about sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct, we investigate and we take action,” he added. A copy of the email was sent to Bloomberg by a Google spokeswoman.

According to the NYT story, two anonymous Google executives claimed then-chief executive Larry Page asked had asked Rubin to resign after a female employee filed a complaint regarding a sexual encounter in a hotel room in 2013.

Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that the New York Times article was “difficult to read.” Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images for WIRED25

Rubin’s spokesman, Sam Singer, has denied all the allegations, claiming he left the firm of his own accord to pursue another enterprise — venture capital firm and technology incubator called Playground.

“He did not engage, nor has he ever been told of any misconduct at Google or anywhere else,” Singer said in a statement, as reported by Time magazine. “To his knowledge, at that time there were no policies in place that prohibited relationships between employees.”

However, the Times claimed he was given a “hero’s farewell” upon his departure. Pichai made sure to say in his letter that none of the people who were axed over the past couple of years have received an exit package.

“Because we know that reporting harassment can be traumatic, we provide confidential channels to share any inappropriate behavior you experience or see. We support and respect those who have spoken out,” the Google CEO said.

The Rubin’s claim adds to a growing criticism of the sexual misconduct culture in tech, including in Silicon Valley, where the industry is famously male-dominated.

“In a normal world this would mean Rubin is done, but tech has not just been forgiving, some tech sees little wrong with this,” tweeted Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Creative Strategies in San Francisco.

“I’d like to think Google will clean up its act if anything to avoid having a retention problem with their female employees,” she added.