Leaked video shows upset Alphabet executives responding to President Trump's election in company-wide meeting

Key Points
  • A leaked video shows Google's leaders responding in dismay at an all-hands meeting after the 2016 presidential election. 
  • The release of the video comes as Google and other major tech companies have been accused of having a liberal bias. 
President Donald Trump gestures after arriving at John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

A video published on Breitbart News on Wednesday shows top executives at Google and its parent company, Alphabet, responding in dismay to President Trump's election at an all-hands meeting shortly after the election in 2016.

In the hour-long video, execs including co-founder Sergey Brin, as well as Google CEO Sundar Pichai, chief financial officer Ruth Porat and top lawyer Kent Walker, respond to the election with somber tones and calls for employees not to let the results divide them.

"Myself as an immigrant and a refugee, I certainly find the selection deeply offensive and I know many of you do too," Brin, Alphabet's president, says near the outset of the meeting. "I think it's a very stressful time and conflicts with many of our values."

Later in the video, CFO Porat admits to being a Hillary Clinton supporter, but also says that the political process was fair and that employees should still feel comfortable bringing their "whole-self" to work.

Google: Products, actions not politically biased
Google: Products, actions not politically biased

"For what it's worth, I've been a very long-time Hillary supporter but as Kent [Walker] said, I very much respect the outcome of the democratic process," she says, "And who any one of us voted for is really not the point because the values that are held dear at this company transcend politics and we're going to constantly fight to preserve them."

The leaked video comes in the wake of a growing backlash against technology companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, which conservatives have charged with having a liberal bias. Each of the companies has denied letting political ideology influence their products.

In late August, President Trump targeted Google specifically, tweeting unfounded accusations that Google's search engine was "rigged" to show mostly "bad" stories about him and other conservatives, as well as the false assertion that it had promoted all of former President Barack Obama's State of the Union speeches, but not his.

Google received additional heat from Washington when it declined to send either Pichai or Page to a recent Senate committee hearing on foreign election meddling.

In general, Silicon Valley tech employees do lean liberal, although a strong libertarian streak runs through the area as well. Employees at Google's parent company, Alphabet, have donated $15.5 million to Democratic candidates and causes since 2004, compared with just $1.6 million to Republicans, according to a recent study from GovPredict.

Since President Trump took office, Alphabet executives have joined other tech company leaders in denouncing specific administration policies that affected their workforces, like an order to restrict migration from a handful of predominantly Muslim countries.

Some conservative tech employees say they feel out of place in Silicon Valley.

In the leaked video, Google's head of HR, Eileen Naughton, says that she had heard from conservative employees that they hadn't felt comfortable expressing their beliefs at work, and calls for Google's "largely liberal-democratic" workforce to be more tolerant and inclusive.

Roughly a year after the election, Google fired engineer James Damore after his internal memo criticizing the company's diversity efforts went viral. Google said at the time that it terminated Damore because the memo "advanced incorrect assumptions about gender," but in the process he became something of a right-wing "hero" and eventually sued the company alleging that it "discriminated against employees for their perceived conservative political views." (Soon after, another ex-employee sued Google for wrongful termination due to his responses to Damore's memo.)

A Google spokesperson, in a statement, reiterated that political bias does not influence its products:

At a regularly scheduled all hands meeting, some Google employees and executives expressed their own personal views in the aftermath of a long and divisive election season. For over 20 years, everyone at Google has been able to freely express their opinions at these meetings. Nothing was said at that meeting, or any other meeting, to suggest that any political bias ever influences the way we build or operate our products. To the contrary, our products are built for everyone, and we design them with extraordinary care to be a trustworthy source of information for everyone, without regard to political viewpoint.

Watch the full hour-plus video on Breitbart.

Clarification: A previous version of this post misstated the timing of Damore's firing.

Alphabet chairman says hard to regulate tech without putting anchor on industry
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