Tech

Former Google employee details affair with company's top lawyer, alleging he neglected their child

Key Points
  • A former employee in Google's legal department accuses its legal chief of having an extramarital relationship with her that resulted in a child.
  • The former employee, Jennifer Blakely, writes in a Medium post Wednesday that David Drummond later abandoned her and their child.
  • Drummond's extramarital affair had been previously reported by The New York Times, but Blakely's account adds new details about their relationship after she left Google.
David Drummond speaks during a meeting of the Advisory Council to Google on the Right to be Forgotten in Paris.
Eric Piermont | AFP | Getty Images

A former employee in Google's legal department released new details and allegations Wednesday related to her relationship with her former boss and current Alphabet Chief Legal Officer David Drummond.

Former senior contracts manager Jennifer Blakely published her account of life after Google and her relationship with Drummond in a post on Medium on Wednesday. Drummond's extramarital relationship with Blakely was previously reported by The New York Times in its expose of sexual misconduct allegations against another top executive, Andy Rubin. But Blakely's piece reveals new details about her time at Google and contact with Drummond since the two had a child together and later ended their relationship.

In a statement, Drummond said, "It's not a secret that Jennifer and I had a difficult break-up 10 years ago. I am far from perfect and I regret my part in that." Without addressing the specifics of her allegations, he said "there are two sides to all of the conversations and details Jennifer recounts, and I take a very different view about what happened."

Google has faced numerous allegations of misconduct in its ranks and saw a global walkout of employees from its offices after the publication of the Times' article. Google has since amended some its policies relating to sexual misconduct, such as removing forced arbitration clauses from employee's contracts in those cases.

Blakely did not respond to a request for comment. Google declined to comment.

In her post, Blakely said she believes "a company's culture, its behavioral patterns, start at the top." Blakely said Drummond pointed to an article about former Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt's notoriously open romantic lifestyle to explain "how things worked" for executives like him.

"Looking back, I see how standards that I was willing to indulge early on became institutionalized behavior as Google's world prominence grew and its executives grew more powerful," Blakely wrote. "Women that I worked with at Google who have spoken to me since the New York Times article have told me how offended they were by the blatant womanizing and philandering that became common practice among some (but certainly not all) executives, starting at the very top."

When Blakely and Drummond met, according to her account, Drummond was married with a child but told her he was estranged from his wife. The two began having an affair around 2004, according to Blakely, and she became pregnant with his child in 2005 but later miscarried. When she became pregnant again a year later, Blakely said Drummond "assured me of his imminent divorce" and their son was born in May 2007. Drummond stayed married and later continued to have other affairs with other people from Google, according to Blakely.

Drummond disputed this claim in his statement.

"Other than Jennifer, I never started a relationship with anyone else who was working at Google or Alphabet. Any suggestion otherwise is simply untrue," he wrote.

Relationships between managers and their direct reports were banned under a new policy at Google at the time, according to Blakely. Drummond did not disclose their relationship to anyone he worked for, Blakely said, but once their son was born, the HR department told her one of them would need to leave the legal department to abide by the rules. Drummond was chief legal officer at the time, according to Blakely's account, and she was transferred to sales, in which she had no experience.

Around this time, Blakely said, Drummond was living with her and their son and offered to support them financially so she could leave her new job, where she was struggling and unhappy.

"Since he was living with our son and me, I took this as a further sign of commitment," Blakely wrote. "I felt confident that he loved us and would protect us and so I quit Google, signing whatever documents they required because likewise, I wanted to protect him."

In October 2008, Blakely said Drummond abandoned her and their son. Blakely said she left a dinner with Drummond and other Google employees early when a babysitter called to say her son was sick, and later a friend told her Drummond had taken two other women who worked for him to San Francisco.

"Finally, I sent him a text message asking him when we could expect him home," Blakely said. "He responded, 'Don't expect me back. I'm never coming back.' And he didn't."

After that night, Blakely said, Drummond "would go for months or even years at a time completely ignoring my pleas to see his son — not even so much as a text to us, despite living about a mile away."

Once she filed a custody suit against Drummond, Blakely said he attempted to take their son to be raised by him and his wife, with whom he had a pending divorce. Drummond later told her he never intended for that arrangement to occur, Blakely said, and once their son was 4 and a half years old, their custody arrangement was in place and he provided child support.

"If I objected to his terms, if I didn't 'play ball,' he would punish me by punishing our son," Blakely wrote. "Months or years would go by where he wouldn't see him or respond to my calls or texts with updates and pictures of him or even ask how he was doing, let alone how he might help out, knowing full well I was alone and in desperate need."

Drummond's full statement is below:

"It's not a secret that Jennifer and I had a difficult break-up 10 years ago. I am far from perfect and I regret my part in that.

Her account raises many claims about us and other people, including our son and my former wife. As you would expect, there are two sides to all of the conversations and details Jennifer recounts, and I take a very different view about what happened. I have discussed these claims directly with Jennifer, and I addressed the details of our relationship with our employer at the time.

But I do want to address one claim that touches on professional matters. Other than Jennifer, I never started a relationship with anyone else who was working at Google or Alphabet. Any suggestion otherwise is simply untrue.

I know Jennifer feels wronged and understand that she wants to speak out about it. But I won't be getting into a public back and forth about these personal matters."

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Watch: Google employees walk out to protest the handling of sexual harassment allegations

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Google employees stage global walkout and ask for accountability