"Whenever we press for change, we are told only that the company will ‘take a hard look at these policies.’ But we are never given a commitment to improve..."
In an open petition published by Medium today, LGBT employees from the biggest search engine in the world ask that SF Pride not include the company in their Pride festival this weekend.
“[We] urge you to revoke Google’s sponsorship of Pride 2019, and exclude Google from representation in the San Francisco Pride Parade on June 30th, 2019,” the petition reads. Almost 100 employees have already signed the appeal.
Directly addressed to San Fransisco Pride’s board of directors, the petition makes some serious claims against the tech company and its line of products.
“We do not make this request without serious consideration of the alternatives,” it reads. “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. Whenever we press for change, we are told only that the company will ‘take a hard look at these policies.’ But we are never given a commitment to improve, and when we ask when these improvements will be made, we are always told to be patient.”
The petitioners realize the short notice of their request, but ask that even if SF Pride doesn't boycott the company, they consider issuing a "determination, absent a real change in these policies and practices, and a strong position statement to that effect, that Google will not be permitted to sponsor or be officially represented in future San Francisco Pride celebrations."
Publication The Verge reached out to San Francisco Pride which in turn said they will not be removing Google from their events this upcoming weekend.
“As we commemorate the roots of our movement in resistance, we also understand that San Francisco Pride has become synonymous with the values of inclusion and acceptance,” the statement reads. “In the spirit of community and growth, we confirm Google as a continued participant in the 2019 SF Pride Parade. Together as a community, we will continue our progress, and together we will protect our hard-won civil rights victories.”
Although SF Pride isn't dismissing the charge made by Google's LGBT staff, saying "Google and YouTube can and must do more to elevate and protect the voices of LGBTQ+ creators,” they still believe that the company has been listening to criticism and working on improving policies.
“Google has been a considerate partner of SF Pride for a number of years, and has historically been a strong ally to LGBTQ+ communities. Google has long offered substantial benefits to their same-sex couple and transgender employees, and shown valuable public advocacy, opposing unfair legislation targeting LGBTQ communities, particularly trans individuals.”
Google reps say that the company has marched in the parade for more than a decade and are looking forward to this weekend's festivities. “We are grateful for SF Pride’s partnership and leadership.”
Discord among some Google LGBT employees began after the company refused to ban Steven Crowder, a conservative who has repeatedly gone after Vox journalist Carlos Maza, calling him a "lispy queer," mocking his mannerisms and ethnicity. You can see a compilation video of his behavior HERE.
Maza doesn't blame Crowder for the harassment and bullying which follows each of his homophobic rants.
"There will always be monsters in the world," writes Maza. "I'm f***ing pissed at @YouTube, which claims to support its LGBT creators, and has explicit policies against harassment and bullying..."
Google told employees they could not peacefully protest while marching with the company in the parade, but they could do so as individuals away from the company.