Thousands of Google employees all over the world walked out of their jobs Thursday to protest the company’s response to sexual misconduct allegations leveled at executives, particularly Android software creator Andy Rubin, who denies the “false accusations” which he said are part of a “smear campaign to disparage me during a divorce and custody battle.”
Like all such walkouts, this one had a name, “Walkout For Real Change,” and a designated time, 11:10 a.m. local time. The participants numbered in the thousands, streaming out of Google’s various offices across the globe.
The walkout comes a week after yet anothe r New York Times bombshell #MeToo report — a report Rubin blasted as containing “numerous inaccuracies” and “wild exaggerations.” Google employees are now accusing the company of having covered for Rubin and given him a “hero’s farewell,” which included a $90 million exit package when he left in 2014.
Here’s how the Times article begins:
Google gave Andy Rubin, the creator of Android mobile software, a hero’s farewell when he left the company in October 2014.
“I want to wish Andy all the best with what’s next,” Larry Page, Google’s chief executive then, said in a public statement. “With Android he created something truly remarkable — with a billion-plus happy users.”
What Google did not make public was that an employee had accused Mr. Rubin of sexual misconduct. The woman, with whom Mr. Rubin had been having an extramarital relationship, said he coerced her into performing oral sex in a hotel room in 2013, according to two company executives with knowledge of the episode. Google investigated and concluded her claim was credible, said the people, who spoke on the condition that they not be named, citing confidentiality agreements. Mr. Rubin was notified, they said, and Mr. Page asked for his resignation.
Google could have fired Mr. Rubin and paid him little to nothing on the way out. Instead, the company handed him a $90 million exit package, paid in installments of about $2 million a month for four years, said two people with knowledge of the terms. The last payment is scheduled for next month.
Rubin’s pushed back against the Times’ accusations in a pair of tweets Monday. “The New York Times story contains numerous inaccuracies about my employment at Google and wild exaggerations about my compensation,” he wrote. “Specifically, I never coerced a woman to have sex in a hotel room. These false allegations are part of a smear campaign by my ex-wife to disparage me during a divorce and custody battle.”
The Times also accused Google of protecting two other executives accused of sexual misconduct over the past decade. “In two instances, it ousted senior executives, but softened the blow by paying them millions of dollars as they departed, even though it had no legal obligation to do so,” the Times states. “In a third, the executive remained in a highly compensated post at the company. Each time Google stayed silent about the accusations against the men.”
The Times describes Rubin’s case as “standing out” among the three in part because of “how much Google paid him and its silence on the circumstances of his departure.” The company also allegedly invested in Rubin’s next venture.