Fired Google engineer says company is trying to smear him

James Damore defends his controversial memo and says he feels betrayed in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

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Former Google engineer James Damore says he feels betrayed by the leadership at his former employer.

Bloomberg TV

The former Google engineer behind a controversial memo on diversity efforts is standing by his views and says the company is trying to smear his reputation.

James Damore, who was fired by the search giant on Monday, defended his views during an interview Wednesday with Bloomberg TV. His 10-page manifesto sparked outrage from Google employees after being posted to an internal network. It argued biology prevents women from being as successful as men in the tech industry and criticized the company as having a "left leaning" bias.

Damore said he initially shared the memo a month ago, but "no one high up ever came to me and said, 'No, don't do this,' even though there were many people who looked at it," Damore told Bloomberg. "It was only after it got viral that upper management started shaming me and eventually firing me."

Watch this: Fired Google engineer defends controversial memo

In his memo, Damore argues that women are underrepresented in tech not as a result of bias and discrimination. Instead, "the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don't see equal representation of women in tech and leadership."

Damore said that while some Google employees expressed support for him, it's not surprising no one from the executive ranks did so.

"There was a concerted effort among upper management to have a very clear signal that what I did was harmful and wrong and didn't stand for Google," Damore said. "It would be career suicide for any executives or directors to support me."

Google representatives didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The controversy comes as Silicon Valley companies grapple with how to increase workforce diversity in an industry dominated by white men and permeated with corporate cultures that seem biased against women and female engineers. Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other tech companies now regularly release diversity reports, highlighting low percentages of women and minority employees, with few moving up the management chain.

Damore was fired by Google on Monday -- the same day Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees that the memo's author violated company rules by circulating the controversial memo. He said it's "not OK" for employees to feel that they can't "safely express their views (especially those with a minority viewpoint)."

Pichai said he believes Damore brought up valid concerns about Google's training and whether the diversity programs it has put in place are sufficiently open to all. But Pichai said the memo crossed a line.

Damore has said he believes his dismissal was illegal and that he would "likely be pursuing legal action." Before his firing, Damore said he submitted a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board charging Google's upper management with "misrepresenting and shaming me in order to silence my complaints."

Solving for XX: The industry seeks to overcome outdated ideas about "women in tech."

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