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Google employees petition SF Pride to oust company from parade

Googlers say their company hasn't done enough to protect LGBTQ folks on its platforms.

Google UK Offices, London

Google employees have signed a petition about the company's sponsorship of San Francisco Pride festivities. 

Future Publishing/Getty

Google employees don't want Google sponsoring San Fransisco Pride festivities.

In a letter and petition to the board of directors of San Fransisco Pride, posted to Medium on Wednesday, a group of Google employees said the company hasn't improved its policies when it comes to the treatment of "LGBTQ+ persons, the depiction of LGBTQ+ persons, and harassment and hate speech directed at LGBTQ+ persons, on YouTube and other Google products."

As such, letting Google sponsor Pride would be painting the company in "a rainbow veneer of support," the employees said in the letter. They asked the Pride board to revoke Google's sponsorship of Pride 2019 and exclude it from the San Francisco Pride Parade on June 30.

"Google has marched in the San Francisco Pride Parade for more than a decade and we are excited to continue the tradition this weekend. We are grateful for SF Pride's partnership and leadership," a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

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Companies like Twitter, Facebook and Google have come under fire for the way they police -- or don't police-- their platforms. Earlier in June, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki apologized for hurting the LGBTQ community with the decision not to take down the channel of a prominent user who had made homophobic remarks about a gay journalist.

"If we took down that content, there would be so [much] other content we'd need to take down," Wojcicki said. "We don't want to be knee-jerk."  

In a statement, SF Pride said it wouldn't remove Google from the parade. 

"Google and YouTube can and must do more to elevate and protect the voices of LGBTQ+ creators on their platforms, and we've found that Google has been willing to listen to this criticism and is working to develop appropriate policies," the statement said. The group also said Google has given benefits to same-sex partners and transgender employees, as well as participated in public advocacy for the LGBTQ community. 

In response, the employees took to Twitter (via @NoPrideForGoog) to say although SF Pride rejected the request, they will keep fighting. They also said they'd racked up 129 signatures within 48 hours. 

Originally published June 26.
Update, June 27: Adds response from Google employees.