James Damore, the now-fired Google engineer who wrote a viral memo stating that women are biologically unsuited for engineering and other tech industry jobs, is at the center of a polarized internet debate about whether such arguments, however controversial, should be entertained in the context of free speech.
Damore has confirmed to multiple news outlets that Google dismissed him for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” His memo, which argues that women are innately incapable, unwilling, or unfit to perform a wide range of engineering and tech industry jobs, has left many people angry and appalled. But it’s also garnered plenty of support among those who agree with his arguments and those who sympathize with his claim that Google has fostered an ideological echo chamber. Such supporters feel he’s fallen victim to what many on the right perceive as the progressive social justice movement’s “politically correct” groupthink.
Even before he was fired, Damore was hailed as a hero by many right-wing news outlets, some of whom accused progressives of “[stringing] him up.” And members of the alt-right have praised him as a brave soul speaking truth about fundamental differences between genders they believe are ignored by a rigidly suppressive leftist culture. But he’s also found support among people from a broader range of political range of political backgrounds over issues such as free speech and censorship. His termination has even become a rallying point for conservatives and libertarians — some of whom believe the media played a role in demonizing him to the public.
Damore’s supporters argue that the media distorted his arguments and that he had the right to express them
Support for Damore’s viewpoints has proved wide-ranging. Bloomberg columnist Elaine Ou argued that the backlash against him reflects a progressive authoritarian hivemind. Before news of Damore’s firing broke, a First Amendment lawyer named Marc Randazza argued at CNN…