Google's former head of international relations took to social media to take a stand against the tech giant's policies on China and to attack the company's culture.
Using a Twitter thread and a Medium article, Ross LaJeunesse outlined details that he thinks led his push out of Google, saying that he tried for many years to recommend human rights guidelines, but they were always rejected by senior executives.
He cited the company's attempts to launch a heavily-censored search engine to serve demands of the Chinese government after a previous decision he had made in 2010 to stop cooperating with China, over increasing censorship demands that target human rights activists.
LaJeunesse accused Google of ignoring human rights concerns in China to achieve more profit by accessing a huge market.
According to The Intercept, Google was considering plans to launch the censored search engine "Dragonfly" in the spring of 2018.
In December 2018, the project was terminated in the wake of several warnings made by former Google employees who raised concerns over the project being "a potential means through which Chinese authorities could censor web content and monitor citizens' behavior online."
This story is bigger than me, and it's bigger than Google. Greed and abuse of power have not only infected American companies like Google, they've infected Washington too. And it's time to stop it. #RossForMaine https://t.co/3rshhA9CSV— Ross LaJeunesse (@RossforMaine) January 2, 2020
Just when Google needed to double down on a commitment to human rights, it decided to instead chase bigger profits and an even higher stock price.— Ross LaJeunesse (@RossforMaine) January 2, 2020
In his Twitter thread, LaJeunesse also complained about Google's workplace culture, saying that female employees were often screamed at by his senior colleagues. He also talked about racist and homophobic remarks that were never addressed.
LaJeunesse concludes that standing up for human rights, women, people of color, and the LGBT community cost him his job.
Senior colleagues bullied and screamed at young women, causing them to cry at their desks. At an all-hands meeting, my boss said, “Now you Asians come to the microphone too. I know you don’t like to ask questions.”— Ross LaJeunesse (@RossforMaine) January 2, 2020
At a different all-hands meeting, the entire policy team was separated into various rooms and told to participate in a “diversity exercise” that placed me in a group labeled “homos” while participants shouted out stereotypes such as “effeminate” and “promiscuous.”— Ross LaJeunesse (@RossforMaine) January 2, 2020
However, the former Google executive remarks have been linked to his political ambitions, since he launched his campaign to run for the Senate in the State of Maine in June 2019.
Ross LaJeunesse ended his Twitter thread by hinting at his opponent's vote for tax cuts in favor of huge Silicon Valley companies, suggesting that Susan Collins stands for 'greedy businesses' while he stands for human rights issues.
He also shared links to his campaign's donations page and used the hashtag #RossForMaine.
Susan Collins voted for a $1.5 trillion tax break for companies like Google while working parents in my community literally can’t afford to get sick. Her priorities are clear, so are mine. I'm in this to fight to get my state & our country back on track.— Ross LaJeunesse (@RossforMaine) January 2, 2020
LaJeunesse's remarks sparked a debate across social media, with some people supporting him and expressing their shock over his allegations against the widely-celebrated tech company, while others accused him of speaking only because it "serves his political aspirations" to win Maine's senate seat next November.
Google didn't change, you probably didn't even change, targeting them in this time is simply politically expedient.— soup (@feartomorrow) January 3, 2020
It's also far, far too late. They are state-level actors. The new superpowers born from Columbia will be her destruction.
Oh. I get it. You ignore the evils of the controlling multi billion dollar corporation, when you are making buttloads of money, but now that you have political aspirations, and want to seem topical and relevant, you “expose” the corporation. We can get the “expertise” elsewhere.— Tom Pietrycha (@TomPietrycha) January 3, 2020
Shame on Google. A company established in a democratic country but now is trading the universal values of human rights for CCP's money. Therefore it also has a role in the violation of human rights.— Ernest (@Ernest27951057) January 3, 2020
It is sad that many companies like google would rather give up their dignity and trade basic human rights with cash.— Starlight?️? (@Starlig69904533) January 3, 2020
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