A video leaked by conservative news outlet Breitbart shows Google’s first all-staff meeting in the wake of Donald Trump’s unexpected victory during the 2016 presidential election, during which employees openly lamented the election’s result.
While some Google executives called for unity, most expressed various degrees of disappointment in the result.
“Myself, as an immigrant, a refugee, I certainly find this election deeply offensive,” Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, said in the beginning of the meeting. “And I know many of you do, too. I think that’s a very stressful time, and it conflicts with many of our values.”
Brin, who serves as the president of Google’s parent company Alphabet, emigrated from the Soviet Union to the U.S. in 1979.
In an emailed statement, a Google spokesperson said nothing was said during the meeting to suggest that political bias played any part in their operations or products.
“To the contrary, our products are built for everyone, and we design them with extraordinary care to be a trustworthy source of information for everyone, without regard to political viewpoint,” the company said.
Other executives, including Senior Vice President of Global Affairs Kent Walker, CFO Ruth Porat and Vice President of People Operations Eileen Naughton can be heard on the video lamenting the election of Trump. CEO Sundar Pichai, however, called the election a “good moment for reflection, introspection and listening to each other too,” while saying the company will “stand up always” for the values” it believes in.
Breitbart characterized the video as evidence that Google was using its “unrivaled influence” and “vast resources to thwart the Trump agenda.”
The ubiquitous search engine has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks after President Trump took to Twitter to criticize Google, which he claimed favored liberal news websites while highlighting negative news about his administration.
In a video shared online one day later, Trump accused Google of promoting both of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union addresses on its homepage, while failing to do the same for himself. Google disputed the claim and said it did highlight a livestream of Trump’s State of the Union address on Jan. 30, 2018.
And on Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicated that he’s open to exploring whether social media companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook are intentionally stifling conservative voices.
Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg both testified on Capitol Hill last week, but Google co-founder Larry Page declined an invitation to attend.