Google CEO Pichai says 48 employees fired for sexual misconduct

Google has sacked at least 48 employees, including 13 senior managers, over sexual harassment since 2016, according to an email sent by chief executive Sundar Pichai on Thursday.

The letter was in response to a New York Times report that said that the tech giant shielded a handful of executives.

The New York Times report claimed that Andy Rubin, creator of the Android operating system that runs on a majority of the world’s smartphones, received a $90m exit package from Google as he was mired in multiple misconduct allegations.

The article also alleges that Google has gone to great lengths to silence accusers.

“In recent years, we’ve made a number of changes, including taking an increasingly hard line on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority,” Pichai said in the letter.

The chief executive listed initiatives such as “Respect@”, an “annual Internal Investigations Report” and confidential channels to report misconduct.

Pichai also said that none of the 48 dismissed employees received exit packages.

The New York Times article cited a civil suit filed by Rubin’s ex-wife, Rie, that claimed he had self-proclaimed “ownership” over women during their marriage.

A screenshot of an alleged email sent by Rubin to one of these women said “You will be happy being taken care of … Being owned is kinda like you are my property, and I can loan you to other people.”

A spokesperson for Rubin has denied the allegations, the New York Times said.

Google has faced other controversies in recent months, including reports the company was preparing to launch a censored search engine in China, named ‘Project Dragonfly’.

An employee troubled by the development of Project Dragonfly reportedly leaked internal documents to the press. 

Over a thousand employees signed a letter condemning the plans.

Google is the world’s most popular search engine and its parent company, Alphabet, is worth almost $1 trillion.

Google famously had a “Don’t be evil” clause in its code of conduct. That clause was removed either in late April or early May.

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