By Christina Campodonico
Google employees across the globe walked off the job Thursday morning to protest the internet company’s handling of sexual harassment cases — a $90-million payout to former Google executive Andy Rubin and cover-up of a misconduct claim against him prompting much of the massive demonstration.
In New York City, hundreds of Googlers left the tech giant’s Chelsea office to flood a nearby park. In San Francisco, about a 1,000 employees assembled in a plaza in front of the historic Ferry Building, chanting “Women’s rights are workers’ rights!”
In contrast, the demonstration held at the company’s Venice office at 340 Main St. was a quiet affair — more akin to a private vigil than a vociferous protest — that barely stepped foot off the highly secured campus.
Around 11:20 a.m. dozens of Googlers assembled in a fenced-off courtyard viewable from an adjacent parking lot. Reporters and broadcasters pressed their cameras, microphones and recorders against a gridded gate, straining to capture snippets of speeches and chants as helicopters whirred overhead.
A woman dressed in black and wearing sunglasses spoke through a megaphone, telling the assembled crowd “‘Sorry’ is not enough anymore. Time is up. We demand a better process,” and then invited anyone with a “story” to come forward and speak.
No one immediately volunteered, and anyone who might have spoken up was covered by the crowd or muffled by helicopters. The group, several among them carrying signs that read “The Future is Female” or “Transparency Now,” then moved to another gated courtyard across the street at 320 Hampton Drive, where they chanted “Time is Up, Time is Up,” and were told by the woman in black to direct any press queries to an email address. The group then moved back to the main building at 340 Main, concluding the demonstration.
During the two brief walkouts between the two courtyards, Googlers would not respond to reporters’ requests for comment, directing queries to the specified email address, remaining silent, or replying “No comment.”
One female Google worker responded to The Argonaut’s question about her participation in the walkout with, “Because enough is enough,” then stopped talking after her peer shook her head at her. A male worker shouted at reporters “We’re a family, it’s an internal conversation.”
While Google workers remained tightlipped, some of their protest signs spoke volumes, some reading “Believe Victims,” “Support Women, Support the World” and “Not Cool Google.”
A press release from firstname.lastname@example.org in response to The Argonaut’s request for comment read: “While Google has championed the language of diversity and inclusion, substantive actions to address systemic racism, increase equity, and stop sexual harassment have been few and far between. ENOUGH. Reassuring PR won’t cut it: we need transparency, accountability, and structural change. … We are part of a growing movement, and we are not going to stand for this anymore.”