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The managing director of mega-investment firm Thiel Capital has insinuated that “complaining to HR” is a “path to financial freedom” for women in STEM—and his critics could not disagree more.
On Monday, Google fired an employee who penned an anti-diversity memo justifying the gender pay gap in technology as a result of biological differences. In responding to Google’s actions, Eric Weinstein, a self-described dad and employee of billionaire Peter Thiel, tweeted that Google valued employee’s work less than their HR complaints.
“Dear @Google, Stop teaching my girl that her path to financial freedom lies not in coding but in complaining to HR,” Weinstein wrote. “Thx in advance, A dad.”
Dear @Google,— Eric Weinstein (@EricRWeinstein) August 8, 2017
Stop teaching my girl that her path to financial freedom lies not in coding but in complaining to HR.
Thx in advance,
Yes, it’s a scalding take that attempts to uplift girls interested in STEM while also painting Google as a perpetrator of gender bias. However, many critics took issue with Weinstein’s implication that “complaining to HR” was invaluable and only done by women looking to make money off a company, instead of done to investigate a workplace discrepancy, be it financial, harassment-related, or otherwise.
Dude. The reason we want workplaces free of discrimination is so we can focus on our actual damn jobs.— jendziura (@jendziura) August 8, 2017
I went to HR for a guy who harassed me. It took 3 more women for him to get fired. That's why I work for myself. You don't know. LEARN.— MJA (@MJADetBos) August 8, 2017
After I went to HR, my boss's boss told me that the problem was mine. 2/— SuchFertileChaos (@OldATXMonster) August 8, 2017
Dear Eric,— Jeff Fecke (@jkfecke) August 8, 2017
Stop teaching men that their path to financial freedom lies not in coding but in discriminating against women.
you must be seriously misguided to think this is the lesson here. I hope your girl is not afraid to defend herself, via HR if need be.— Lord of the Files (@cowtowncoder) August 8, 2017
Yeah, just tell her to suck it up when denied promotion because no testicles. Bros in charge always got room for girls doing work at bottom.— BooleanContinuum (@AndNotIf) August 8, 2017
dudes, strive not to be the kind of asshole who hopes that his child doesn't know how employment law works https://t.co/NkpRmvvEbZ— andrea grimes (@andreagrimes) August 8, 2017
Your girl wouldn't need HR if she were evaluated on her ability and not her male colleague's expectation that she's unsuited to code. https://t.co/5qiiO6gZnI— Elizabeth Spiers (@espiers) August 8, 2017
Others chose to make an example of Weinstein’s employer and Thiel’s attitude toward women, as evidenced by this bad tweet.
"Complaining to HR" - from a prominent VC speaks volumes about SV disdain for the function, explains why so many tech startups avoid it. https://t.co/VNBD68JWYw— MichelleRafter (@MichelleRafter) August 8, 2017
"additionally, my boss doesn't think she should be able to vote, and he stole her blood, and i just STOOD there, oh god, i just STOOD TH https://t.co/iYa8Sn5Gv7— Walmart Azathoth (@bombsfall) August 8, 2017
also eric shouldn’t your daughter be more concerned that her dad chooses to work for a guy who thinks women's suffrage was a mistake https://t.co/WKZcfsEjUJ— Sam Biddle (@samfbiddle) August 8, 2017
This is the managing director of Thiel Capital, BTW. I know you’re shocked. https://t.co/g6rP3CLljr— David Bixenspan (@davidbix) August 8, 2017
Weinstein tried to clarify his point by equating “complaining to HR” to the backlash that families get when they complain to schools that their kids are being bullied… for being mixed race? It’s a weird comparison to make, because the point stands that anyone who comes forward with evidence of racial or gender discrimination shouldn’t be persecuted, but sure.
Ever watch mixed-race kids made to cry for not being brown enough? Family bullied for standing up to racism? It doesn't mean what you think. https://t.co/YB8liJkrgA— Eric Weinstein (@EricRWeinstein) August 8, 2017
The attempt at justification, however, just brought out another horde, this time of parents of people or people of mixed race, who demanded to know what the hell Weinstein was talking about.
*Mixed-race kid checking in*— ʎɐǝs uɐʎɹ (@ryanseay) August 8, 2017
What's going on in here?
Hi! I'm mixed. What the hell are you talking about?— Max (@uncapybarable) August 8, 2017
Also from mixed face family. Can confirm. Very sad. Do enjoy the wider representation, though.— theaapeterson (@theaapeterson) August 8, 2017
A mom to "mixed race kids" here I suggest you not talk about something you have no clue about.— earthyalchemist (@earthyalchemist) August 8, 2017
But don’t worry, folks. Weinstein voted for Bernie and still “fights” for women in tech, no matter what his critics think.
I mean ... uh ... I voted for Bernie ... before I voted for HRC. And I fight for women in tech fields because we need them. Is this April 1? https://t.co/HddV0LPDXj— Eric Weinstein (@EricRWeinstein) August 8, 2017
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.