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Sundar Pichai promises to relook at harassment policies in a letter to LGBTQ+ employees


Google CEO Sundar Pichai has shared a letter with the LGBTQ+ employees in the company, as he addresses the ‘pain and frustration’ that the people of the community have faced over recent events.

Pichai promised that YouTube is taking a “hard look” at its harassment policies and that the platform will consult “many groups, including people who have themselves experienced harassment,” as well as Google employee resource groups. This letter was shared with The Vergeg>.

On Tuesday, Pichai, along with a few executives from YouTube met with representatives from the company’s LGBTQ groups. Reportedly, they talked about what one employee called “the pattern of crises” related to the LGBTQ community and a need for earlier internal engagement with LGBTQ groups on policy decisions.

This letter comes on the heels of YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki apologising to the LGBTQ community at Code Conference earlier this week. YouTube recently faced backlash for its recent policy decisions regarding conservative commentator Steven Crowder’s channel.

Google CEO Pichai arrives at House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Image: Reuters

“I’m really, personally very sorry. YouTube has always been a home of so many LGBTQ creators, and that’s why it was so emotional. Even though it was a hard decision, it was harder that it came from us — because it was such an important home,” Wojcicki was reported as saying at the conference.

In the letter, Pichai reiterates Wojcicki’s apology and says that he regrets “that this happened during Pride month when we should be celebrating the incredible LGBTQ+ community you all have built at Google.”

Last month, host Carlos Maza shared a tweet threat that outlined several instances where Steven Crowder made homophobic and racist comments about him. This prompted an investigation by YouTube.

Since I started working at Vox, Steven Crowder has been making video after video “debunking” Strikethrough. Every single video has included repeated, overt attacks on my sexual orientation and ethnicity. Here’s a sample:

— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) May 31, 2019

Following is the internal letter Sundar Pichai sent to the employees.

Hi everyone,

I want to thank the Gayglers Americas Steering Committee and [email protected] for the good discussion yesterday.

It was important for me to hear directly from LGBTQ+ Googlers to better understand the full range of experiences. One thing that came through very clearly is the LGBTQ+ community has felt a lot of pain and frustration over recent events.

Yesterday, Susan apologised publicly for the pain some of these issues have caused. I share that feeling and especially regret that this happened during Pride month when we should be celebrating the incredible LGBTQ+ community you all have built at Google.

Our Gaygler and Trans communities have always been a core part of Google culture. You are a source of pride for us as Googlers, and also a source of hope for people globally who don’t feel comfortable being out in their own workplaces and communities. It’s important to me that we continue to work hard to ensure Google is a place where everyone feels included.

With respect to YouTube, Susan and the team are already taking a hard look at the harassment policies and will do this in consultation with many groups, including people who have themselves experienced harassment. We’re also thinking through ways to engage more with our LGBTQ+ community at important moments and get input from our ERG leads and representatives.

Our discussion yesterday was a great starting point. It was a tough conversation at times — and I really appreciate the honestly and rigor you brought to it. Thank you again for your candor, your ideas, and your commitment. Look forward to continuing the conversation. I am committed to taking action and working with you all to make our workplace more inclusive and to ensure our products work for everyone.

– Sundar

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