Google CEO Apologizes, Vows To Restore Trust After Black Scientist's Ouster

Google CEO Apologizes, Vows To Restore Trust After Black Scientist's Ouster

Google's chief executive Sundar Pichai on Wednesday apologized in the aftermath of the dismissal of a prominent Black scientist whose ouster set off widespread condemnation from thousands of Google employees and outside researchers.

Pichai, however, did not touch upon why was she fired as alleged by Gebru on social media. "I want to say how sorry I am for that, and I accept the responsibility of working to restore your trust". A separate letter similar in design was signed by over 1,500 researchers. The company cut off Gebru's email access and told Gebru's reports it had accepted her resignation.

"We need to accept responsibility for the fact that a prominent Black, female leader with huge talent left Google unhappily", he wrote. "This is false. In their direct correspondence with Dr. Gebru, these executives informed her that her termination was immediate, and pointed to an email she sent to a Google Brain diversity and inclusion mailing list as pretext".

But Gebru blasted the memo shortly after its release as a disingenuous apology - one that failed to address the issues that had precipitated her departure and essentially amounted to an "I'm sorry you feel hurt" PR stunt.

"This loss had a ripple effect on some of our less-represented communities, who saw themselves and some of their experiences reflected in that of Dr Gebru", he wrote. It's hard, important work, and while we're steadfast in our commitment to do better, we have a lot to learn and improve. I've heard the reaction to Dr. Gebru's departure loud and clear: it seeded doubts and led some in our community to question their place at Google.

Pichai wrote in his memo that Google needs to "assess the circumstances that led up to Dr. Gebru's departure, examining where we could have improved and led a more respectful process". Second - we need to accept responsibility for the fact that a prominent Black, female leader waith enormous talent left Google unhappily.

"Instead of being embraced by Google as an exceptionally talented and prolific contributor, Dr. Gebru has faced defensiveness, racism, gaslighting, research censorship, and now a retaliatory firing", they wrote.

Gebru, who joined the company previous year from Stanford, was vocal about the importance of the company's efforts to hire and retain more women as well as Black employees, who now account for less than 2% of the company's workforce. "I see this as 'I'm sorry for how it played out but I'm not sorry for what we did to her yet'".

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