Alphabet investigating executives' handling of sexual misconduct allegations

Google's parent company has also reportedly hired an outside law firm to assist in the probe.

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Richard Nieva
2 min read

Google employees last year protested the company's handling of sexual assault allegations. 

James Martin/CNET

Google parent Alphabet is investigating how management handled allegations of sexual misconduct against legal chief David Drummond and other executives, according to a report Wednesday by CNBC

The investigation was set up by Alphabet's board of directors, the report said. The tech giant has also hired an outside law firm to assist with the probe and contact alleged victims. In January, company shareholders sued Alphabet for allegedly covering up the scandals.

"As has already been confirmed in public court filings, in early 2019, Alphabet's Board of Directors formed a special litigation committee to consider claims made by shareholders in various lawsuits relating to past workplace conduct," an Alphabet spokesperson said in a statement. 

The move comes after Jennifer Blakely, a former contracts manager for Google's legal team, wrote a scathing account of her previous relationship with Drummond, calling his treatment "nothing short of abuse." In the account, published on Medium in August, Blakely said she and Drummond began dating in 2004, and had a son together. Because of the relationship, Google moved Blakely out of the legal team to the sales department, causing her career to suffer. After the relationship ended, she said, Drummond neglected their child and made "terrifying threats" to gain custody. She said he initially refused to discuss child support.

At the time, Google declined to comment on the allegations, but Drummond denied the claims in a statement. "It's not a secret that Jennifer and I had a difficult breakup 10 years ago," he said. "I am far from perfect and I regret my part in that." 

Google's issues with alleged sexual assault and misconduct go beyond Drummond. Andy Rubin, the creator of the Android operating system, allegedly coerced a female employee into performing oral sex on him. Google reportedly responded by quietly dismissing Rubin with a $90 million payout. Rich DeVaul, a director at Google's X research lab, has also been accused of sexual misconduct.

In response to the allegations, 20,000 Google workers walked out of offices around the world to protest how management handled the allegations. Last week marked the one-year anniversary of the protest.