A group of LGBTQ Google employees is lobbying San Francisco's Pride organizers to remove their company from the city’s Pride celebration.
In a letter published on Medium addressed to San Francisco Pride leadership, the Googlers called for the organization to remove Google as a Pride sponsor and to rescind its invitation to appear in Sunday's Pride parade. The letter argues that Google-owned YouTube permits hate and discrimination and the company’s participation in Pride amounts to “a rainbow veneer of support.”
“We have spent countless hours advocating for our company to improve policies and practices regarding the treatment of LGBTQ+ persons, the depiction of LGBTQ+ persons, and harassment and hate speech directed at LGBTQ+ persons, on YouTube and other Google products,” the letter’s authors write.
Google drew ire from the LGBTQ community this month for its policy decisions on YouTube, particularly for its determination that conservative pundit Stephen Crowder did not violate the platform's rules in his repeated attacks on Vox host Carlos Maza. Maza is a frequent target for Crowder, who has called him “a lispy queer" among other insults targeting Maza's sexual orientation. “Every single video has included repeated, overt attacks on my sexual orientation and ethnicity,” Maza said of Crowder's actions.
Internally, some Google employees planned to protest Google's record on LGBTQ issues while marching within the company's parade contingent, through t-shirts or signage.
But as The Verge reported earlier this week, Googlers were told that this behavior was forbidden. “Employees are free to make whatever statement they want personally, apart from our corporate sponsored float/contingent,” a Google inclusion leader told Google's internal “Gayglers” group. “But they are not permitted to leverage our platform to express a message contradictory to the one Google is expressing.” Inside Google, the Gaygler community is divided on the ongoing controversy.