Thanks Christopher. From my personal perspective, it’s a fine line, but one that is pretty clear, yet sometimes heartbreaking.
If it violates or persecutes, then freedom of expression isn’t allowed. That is a basic human right (Article 30 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as it happens — what is called the “Salvatory Clause”). You basically can’t call for people to be shot, murdered, persecuted, to be made fearful or otherwise hurt. ISIS do this and it’s a pretty clear, if extreme, example of violation of human rights, which has visited the world in it’s not too distant history in various guises.
Whilst not even close to that extreme example, in an organisation, this means destabilizing the value delivery of Google. The manifesto, which we’ve established doesn’t contain factual information, places a fabrication over the welfare of colleagues. This itself is dangerous. We have seen several different guises of this through history.
Plus, Google itself has a key pillar which it has held for almost all of its life. “Don’t be evil”. The issue here is that James’ manifesto directly violates this, not because of the explicit nature of what we has said, but the direct and one sided account of of gender diversity, which risks fueling, and has fueled, a backlash against women in tech, with some women’s profiles being built into a montage and posted to encourage twitter attacks on them. At no point does he adequately compare the performance of women to the performance of men, in the actual role of software engineering. Which I find both astounding and somewhat embarrassing, since you would assume that is the key point of his manifesto. That he has to prove “women are worse than men at software engineering” so he would have to prove it and at no point does he. Without that proof, it’s just the random gut feel of a guy versus alienating over 30% of Google’s workforce, which is some 5,000 people directly with a large enough percentage in support, and this is a simple value judgement he had to make, which to me, showed he couldn’t make. He had to go.