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Google is teaching girls that their path to "financial freedom" lies in "complaining to HR," the managing director of a Peter Thiel investment fund said on Tuesday, drawing sharp criticism on social media.
The comments, made by Eric Weinstein, the managing director of Thiel Capital, come after Google fired engineer James Damore for circulating a memo that argued biological differences were the reason for the shortage of women at the company.
Many employees in Google were outraged by the memo. One employee Jaana Dogan, took to Twitter saying that she would leave the company if HR does nothing. The tweet was later deleted.
Weinstein was not directly referencing Dogan in his tweet, but appeared to take issue with women who went to HR to raise their concerns.
Weinstein's tweet drew criticism from others in the technology industry. Venture capitalist Villi Iltchev, who works at August Capital, said he was "upset" by Weinstein's tweet.
Weinstein offered another analogy, as he continued tweeting on the issue.
And then the Thiel Capital managing director likened Damore's dismissal from Google to firing a biologist for making a factual comment on biology but accusing him of sexual harassment.
The "SRY protein" is responsible for determining the sex of a person.
A Google spokesperson pointed towards a statement released by CEO Sundar Pichai on Tuesday explaining the decision to fire the engineer, and trying to reassure staff that they can freely express their views.
"First, let me say that we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves, and much of what was in that memo is fair to debate, regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it," Pichai wrote in a memo.
"However, portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace. Our job is to build great products for users that make a difference in their lives. To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK."
Google, like many tech firms, has been grappling with issues around discrimination. The U.S. Department of Labor accused Google of pay discrimination earlier this year, a charge the search giant has denied.
The broader technology industry has also been rocked by a number of scandals related to discrimination and sexual harassment. These include claims of sexual harassment by prominent venture capitalists as well as the high-profile resignation of former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, in part because of accusations of discrimination at the ride-hailing service.