Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Fox News host Eric Bolling gets suspended, Taylor Swift may testify in a trial that begins tomorrow, and the infamous Google memo dominates the weekend news cycle. Have a productive Monday.
• Google it. The big news of the past couple days is, of course, the anti-diversity memo published by an unnamed male Google engineer on one of the company’s internal mailing lists. The screed—first reported by Motherboard and then published in full by Gizmodo—argues that biological differences between men and women “may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.” (Among the “biological” traits he assigns to women: neuroticism, agreeableness and an “interest in people rather than things.”) He also criticized the company’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion and implies that he’s far from the only Googler to feel this way, though the tech giant’s “left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence.”
As you might imagine, the manifesto provoked a swift response. In a staff memo, Danielle Brown, Google’s new VP of diversity, integrity, and governance, wrote that it “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender,” adding: “I’m not going to link to it here as it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.” Numerous Google employees and ex-employees used social media or blog posts to condemn and debunk it. However, some—generally under the veil of anonymity—expressed support for the engineer and his views.
In trying to digest all of this, my first thought is of the women of Google. What must it be like for them as they head into work this morning, knowing that some of their colleagues believe they are inferior to their male counterparts and likely hired as a result of policies that “lower the bar” to encourage diversity?
And as Fortune‘s Ellen McGirt points out, it’s naive to think the problems symbolized by this memo are unique to Google. It’s “a reminder of why tech continues to be in large part a walled bro-garden,” writes Ellen. “There are fewer women (or people of color) in tech because they know how awful it can be to work there.”
The question now is how Google, which is already facing an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor over alleged gender pay discrimination, will respond—both to the immediate crisis and longer term. While it certainly won’t be easy, the company has an opportunity to provide real leadership—and to stand up for the value of diversity—within the tech industry and beyond. And after this weekend, the world will be watching.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• More furor at Fox. The hits just keep coming at Fox News: The network has suspended longtime host Eric Bolling pending an investigation into reports that he sent lewd photographs to three female colleagues via text message. Frequent Fox guest Caroline Heldman also said she was sexually harassed by Bolling, as well as by former host Bill O’Reilly and former consultant Woody Fraser.
• Uber male. While Uber has reportedly approached at least five women about the open CEO role—including Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki, General Motors’ Mary Barra, EasyJet’s Carolyn McCall, and HP’s Meg Whitman—all of them have apparently turned the gig down. Now, all three remaining prospects are men.
• Taylor testifies? Taylor Swift is expected to testify in a trial over allegations that she was groped in 2013 by radio host David Mueller. Mueller sued the singer-songwriter, saying he was falsely accused and that she should have called police instead of his bosses, who fired him. Swift then countersued, claiming sexual assault. The trial begins on Tuesday.
The Hollywood Reporter
• Writing her way into history. Writer and actor Lena Waithe talks about being the first African-American woman ever to receive an Emmy nomination for comedy writing. Waithe got the nod for the fantastic “Thanksgiving” episode of the second season of Master of None.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Planetary protector. Fortune‘s Maddie Farber talks to Catharine “Cassie” Conley, NASA’s current planetary protection officer, about what her job actually entails, debunking the alien invasion speculation that erupted online last week when her employer announced that they were seeking a new candidate for the position.
• Mayer sues. Journalist and co-founder of the British Women’s Equality party, Catherine Mayer, is suing her former employer, Time for gender and age discrimination; Mayer was fired from the publication in 2015. (Time is a sister publication of Fortune.)
• Hostess with the mostest. What makes party planner Yifat Oren a favorite of celebs and power brokers like Reese Witherspoon, Donna Langley, and Mellody Hobson? This story takes a look at what goes into her $2,000-per-guest-minimum soirees.
New York Times
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