Google engineer James Damore was sacked Tuesday for "perpetuating gender stereotypes" - in other words, saying something Google doesn't like - after he wrote a 10-page memo that said the company's affirmative-action like hiring policies and programs weren't helping the intended recipients.
In an email to staff, Pichai explained that questions from employees had been leaked and that, in some cases, specific employees' identities were revealed, exposing them to harassment and threats.
As Pichai wrote in the email, he has received anxious messages from several "Googlers" expressing concern for their well-being, according to the New York Times.
Google confirmed the email to USA TODAY.
Google's internal "Dory" system allows employees to ask questions and then vote on questions posed by other employees so managers can address the most pressing ones. It was Pichai (pictured) who made the final decision to fire the man who penned the controversial missive, "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber", a decision that has been controversial on different sides of the diversity debate.
Thursday's town-hall meeting was supposed to allow Pichai to address employee questions about James Damore's polarizing missive and his subsequent dismissal. In order to bring more women into software programming, Damore suggested Google "allow those exhibiting cooperative behavior to thrive". Damore had the lowest support from Lyft employees, 65 percent of whom were okay with the way Damore was sacked.
But tweets asking that anyone attending the meeting send audio of it to conservative news site Breitbart to transcribe and post began to appear early Thursday.
Damore had stayed largely silent since the weekend, only confirming to a few news outlets including Bloomberg why he believed he was sacked and that he was now exploring legal remedies. Fifty-six percent of its workers are white and 35 percent are Asian, while Hispanic and Black employees make up 4 percent and 2 percent of its workforce, respectively, according to the company's latest diversity report. When we reached out to Google for comment, they directed us to the Recode article.
Damore, whose memo also accused his company of being biased against conservatives, has used his new-found infamy to defend his case in multiple interviews, including a 45-minute session with right-wing YouTube host Stefan Molyneux.