SAN FRANCISCO — At Google’s weekly staff meeting on Thursday, the top question that employees voted to ask Larry Page, a co-founder, and Sundar Pichai, the chief executive, was one about sexual harassment.
“Multiple company actions strongly indicate that protection of powerful abusers is literally and figuratively more valuable to the company than the well-being of their victims,” read the question, which was displayed at the meeting, according to people who attended. “What concrete and meaningful actions will be taken to turn this around?”
The query was part of an outpouring from Google employees after a New York Times article published on Thursday reported how the company had paid millions of dollars in exit packages to male executives accused of misconduct and stayed silent about their transgressions. In the case of Andy Rubin, the creator of Android mobile software, the company gave him a $90 million exit package even after Google had concluded that a misconduct claim against him was credible.
While tech workers, executives and others slammed Google for the revelations, nowhere was condemnation of the internet giant’s actions more pointed than among its own employees.
The employee rebuke played out on Thursday and Friday in company meetings and on internal message boards and social networks, as well as on Twitter. Jaana Dogan, who works in Google Cloud, the company’s cloud computing business, tweeted, “If you are worth of millions of dollars, you should be able to show the door to authoritarian governments and serial abusers. If not now, then when?”
Another Google employee, Sanette Tanaka Sloan, also posted on Twitter that the way Google had handled Mr. Rubin’s misconduct claim was “crushing.” She added, “We can do so much better.”
On Memegen, an internal Google photo-messaging board popular among employees for its humor, one of the top posts on Thursday featured a GIF of an overjoyed game show contestant showered with confetti. Beneath the image was the text “got caught sexually harassing employee,” said one employee who saw the post and who asked not to be identified because she was not authorized to speak publicly.
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