Is the Google Walkout the Way Forward for the #MeToo Movement?


Is the Google Walkout the Way Forward for the #MeToo Movement?

Illustration: Shruti Yatam


n Thursday, at least 17,000 Google employees walked out of their jobs, all in protest against the tech giant’s handling of sexual harassment cases. It started in Tokyo, where employees walked out of their cubicles at 11.10 am. And Googlers from London to Singapore, from Dublin to right here in Hyderabad followed suit. Overall, 47 global Google offices, including its headquarters in Mountain View, California, stood largely empty.

The controversy began when a New York Times report detailed Google’s mishandling of multiple workplace sexual harassment allegations, particularly against major executives. The most notable was that of Android founder, Andy Rubin, who was accused of misconduct by another employee. According to the report, Google, after finding the allegation to be credible, let him go with a severance package of $90 million and hushed up the situation. Following Rubin’s firing, Google not only paid him a massive sum, but also invested in his new business venture. The NYT report also mentions two other high-level employees, who were fired after claims of sexual misconduct against them were investigated. Both left the company with multi-million dollar pay packages.