Google employees ask San Francisco Pride to exclude company from parade

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A number of Google employees called on organizers of San Francisco’s Pride parade to exclude the tech giant from this weekend’s event.

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In an open letter posted on Medium Wednesday, workers called on organizers — specifically, San Francisco Pride President Jacquelene Bishop and the rest of the board of directors — to “revoke Google’s sponsorship of Pride 2019, and exclude Google from representation in the San Francisco Pride Parade on June 30, 2019.”

“We do not make this request without serious consideration of the alternatives,” the letter stated. “We have spent countless hours advocating for our company to improve policies and practices regarding the treatment of LGBTQ+ persons, the depiction of LGBTQ+ persons, and harassment and hate speech directed at LGBTQ+ persons, on YouTube and other Google products.”

The employees said whenever they asked for change they were told “to be patient."

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“We are told to wait,” the workers alleged in the letter. “For a large company, perhaps waiting is prudent, but for those whose very right to exist is threatened, we say there is no time to waste, and we have waited too long, already. We are no longer content to wait.”

Revelers celebrate on a Google float during WorldPride 2017 parade in Madrid on July 1, 2017. (Getty Images)

The employees stated they acknowledged they may be punished for signing the letter and receiving attacks online for speaking out.

“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,” the letter stated.

Earlier this week, The Verge reported that a leaked memo from Google stated that “employees are allowed to peacefully protest YouTube or Google during the Pride parade — as long as they are not marching with Google in an official capacity.”

Google came under fire recently over its refusal to remove videos from conservative commentator Steven Crowder's channel, in which he uses homophobic slurs to describe Vox reporter Carlos Maza. YouTube said Crowder hasn't told people to harass Maza and the primary point of his videos are to offer an opinion, and thus don't violate YouTube's anti-harassment policies.

"As an open platform, it’s crucial for us to allow everyone–from creators to journalists to late-night TV hosts–to express their opinions w/in the scope of our policies. Opinions can be deeply offensive, but if they don’t violate our policies, they’ll remain on our site," YouTube previously said.

Criticism of the decision has poured out online. YouTube later said it had removed Crowder's ability to make money on YouTube.

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San Francisco Pride released a statement Wednesday regarding Google, saying they appreciated those who reached out “with their concerns about Google.”

“Google has been a considerate partner of SF Pride for a number of years, and has historically been a strong ally to LGBTQ+ communities,” the statement read.

San Francisco Pride confirmed Google will remain a participant in the event.

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“In the spirit of community and growth, we confirm Google as a continued participant in the 2019 SF Pride Parade. Together as a community we will continue our progress, and together we will protect our hard-won civil rights victories,” the statement read.

Google said in a statement, "Google has marched in the San Francisco Pride Parade for more than a decade and we are excited to continue the tradition this weekend. We are grateful for SF Pride's partnership and leadership."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.