Former Google employee says #MeToo behavior 'institutionalized' at search giant

Jennifer Blakely says Chief Legal Officer David Drummond made her life "hell" after fathering her son.

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 Chief Legal Officer David Drummond.

Getty Images

A former Google employee posted a scathing account Wednesday of her relationship with the search giant's chief legal officer, saying her treatment represented "institutionalized behavior" that starts at the "very top" of the company.

Jennifer Blakely, a former contracts manager for Google's legal team, said she and David 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 says, Drummond neglected their child and made "terrifying threats" to gain custody. She said he initially refused to discuss child support, and she called Drummond's treatment "nothing short of abuse."

Google didn't respond to multiple requests for comment from Drummond or the company.

Blakely previously shared her experience with The New York Times in a bombshell article last November about the company's handling of sexual misconduct allegations against key executives, including Android creator Andy Rubin and former Google X director Richard DeVaul. The story spurred a massive walkout protest from 20,000 Google employees in offices around the world. 

At the time of the New York Times report, CEO Sundar Pichai and Head of People Operations Eileen Naughton wrote in a memo to employees, "We are committed to ensuring that Google is a workplace where you can feel safe to do your best work, and where there are serious consequences for anyone who behaves inappropriately." 

Google still faces serious internal tensions and sharp criticism about its policies. Google employees have protested the company's military contracts, work in China and treatment of contractors. Google walkout organizers have also alleged  they faced retaliation from company leadership for their activism efforts. Google has denied that claim.

In her post, Blakely says Google's leadership is to blame for its problems.

"I lived through it first hand and I believe a company's culture, its behavioral patterns, start at the top," Blakely wrote in her post. "Rarely do we hear about what happens to women after they are forced out of their jobs but I can tell you what happened to me."

Some of Blakely's most damning comments address Google's culture, which she says protects male executives accused of misconduct. 

"Looking back, I see how standards that I was willing to indulge early on became institutionalized behavior as Google's world prominence grew and its executives grew more powerful," Blakely wrote in her post. "Until truth is willing to speak to power and is heard, there's not going to be the sea change necessary to bring equality to the workplace."