Fired Google memo writer James Damore is comparing being a conservative at the company with being gay before Stonewall—a time when gays were beaten, killed, and imprisoned for their sexuality.
In an interview with Business Insider, writer Steve Kovach asked Damore how he would respond to Google’s female employees who felt attacked by his comments in the memo. Damore fired back with another hot take, saying that conservatives at Google were forced to “stay in the closet” while working for the company.
“Obviously, no one should feel attacked. I was simply trying to fix the culture in many ways,” Damore said to Kovach. “Really, it’s like being gay in the 1950s. These conservatives have to stay in the closet and have to mask who they really are. And that’s a huge problem because there’s open discrimination against anyone who comes out of closet as a conservative.”
Damore proceeded to argue that the company has “longstanding complaints” and “lawsuits against Google” over conservatives’ treatment at the company. In his opinion, he wasn’t fired for the memo’s sexist comments. He was fired “for wrong-think.”
“There is a dominant ideology at Google, and anyone who dissents against that is either shamed or ostracized. And when it became apparent that I wasn’t backing down to the shame, they had to fire me,” Damore said. “There are many practices that harass conservatives that have illegal bias against certain groups. And I was simply pointing them out.”
It’s safe to say that treatment of conservatives at Google pales in comparison to the social, political, and economic oppression that LGBTQ people faced during the 1950s. So shortly after the interview’s publication, Damore’s comments went viral.
Dang, Damore got fired AND sent to prison just like gay people in the 1950s.
Wait… he's not in prison?
— Happy Lollerdays (@SocraticTense) August 18, 2017
im gonna blow ur mind james damore but … you can be fired for being gay _today_https://t.co/Ey12e5vgQW
— clio (@cliomiso) August 18, 2017
In particular, Twitter users pointed to Alan Turing, an English computer scientist and cryptanalyst who was chemically castrated by the British government for being a gay man. Many felt Damore’s comments were ridiculous in comparison to the horrific treatment Turing faced prior to his death.
I can think of one gay engineer in the 50s who might, in between his arrest, chemical castration, and suicide, beg to disagree with Damore pic.twitter.com/FcLCdJygsX
— Nick Shearer (@nickjshearer) August 18, 2017
Alan Turing was chemically castrated.
James Damore got fired.
Jesus. He's not winning any minds with statements like this.
— Emil Tholin (@EmilTholin) August 18, 2017
James Damore comparing himself to Turing is just *kisses fingers* narcissism belissimo https://t.co/5JNkqYGl7M
— .adri-n .,🏴 (@ddowza) August 18, 2017
In the wake of Damore’s memo, Google has been scrutinized over its treatment of employees. Over 60 female Google employees have considered filing a class action lawsuit for sexism within the company, and three women of color have come out alleging that they experienced racial and gender discrimination while working for the tech giant.