Despite Google employees petitioning San Francisco Pride to exclude the company from participating in the Pride parade this weekend, SF Pride says Google will be allowed to march in the parade.
Earlier today, about 100 Google employees urged SF Pride to ban the company from participating in this weekend’s Pride parade and drop the company as a sponsor. That came after activists expressed concerns regarding Google’s participation in Pride in light of YouTube’s response to homophobic and racist content on its platform. Earlier this month, YouTube said conservative commentator Steven Crowder’s racist and homophobic remarks did not violate its policies.
“We feel we have no choice but to urge you to reject Google’s failure to act in support of our community by revoking their sponsorship of Pride, and excluding Google from official representation in the Pride parade,” the employees wrote on Medium. “If another official platform, YouTube, allows abuse and hate and discrimination against LGBTQ+ persons, then Pride must not provide the company a platform that paints it in a rainbow veneer of support for those very persons. On the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, in a Pride celebration whose very slogan is “Generations of Resistance”, we ask you to join us in resisting LGBTQ+ oppression on the internet, and the subjugation of our right to equality in favor of calculated business concerns. The first Pride was a protest, and so now must this Pride be one.”
“We appreciate the engagement of community members who reached out to San Francisco Pride with their concerns about Google,” SF Pride said in a statement. “Google and YouTube can and must do more to elevate and protect the voices of LGBTQ+ creators on their platforms, and we’ve found that Google has been willing to listen to this criticism and is working to develop appropriate policies. They have acknowledged they have much work to do to promote respectful discussion and exchange of ideas.”
SF Pride goes on to say Google has been a long-term supporter for years and that the company has historically been a good ally to the LGBTQ+ community. Google, obviously, agrees.
“Google has marched in the San Francisco Pride Parade for more than a decade and we are excited to continue the tradition this weekend,” a Google spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We are grateful for SF Pride’s partnership and leadership.”
But employees feel otherwise. Despite claims from the company that it will look at the policies, employees say they’re never given a true commitment to improving. Furthermore, employees say they fear retaliation from Google for speaking out and protesting during the parade.
“But Google has now informed us that this is a violation of our communications policy, a part of the company code of conduct,” the employees wrote. “They claim the contingent is their official representation, and we may not use their platform to express an opinion that is not their opinion.”
But Google says they can protest at Pride — just not while marching with Google and its float. While SF Pride says it will allow Google to participate this year, employees are hoping that the organization will consider excluding Google from future events.
“We ask that, even if you will not consider excluding Google so soon before Pride, that you will issue a determination, absent a real change in these policies and practices, and a strong position statement to that effect, that Google will not be permitted to sponsor or be officially represented in future San Francisco Pride celebrations,” the employees wrote.