The memo went viral after being posted on an internal network and sparked outrage from some Google employees. At most businesses, these problems tend to be localized, with upper management more concerned about profit and shareholder relations; employees can shift to other units or more easily ignore and work around the problem.
Google has prided itself on its openness.
Representatives for Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story. It quickly spilled over into an all-out culture war outside the company, putting Google and its employees in the crosshairs.
James Damore, the software engineer fired by Google for circulating a 10-page manifesto inside the company that suggested women might be under-represented in tech generally and "leadership" inside the company due to their biology, has described the company as "almost like a cult" in an opinion column published the Wall Street Journal. In truth, Damore couldn't have been unaware of this.
Much of the op-ed focuses on Damore's claim that he was the victim of a corporate "shaming". Then, Damore created a companywide discussion group for the document. Take a look at a couple more banners below.
He was sacked on Monday, and the situation quickly escalated.
The screenshots appeared on Breitbart News, which has celebrated Damore's memo as an example of Silicon Valley's intolerance of conservative views.
Google's CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on stage during a conference tagged'Google for Nigeria in Lagos
Narrating the accounts of the female workers, the report quoted a former senior manager who recently left Google, as saying that she repeatedly learned of men at the same level as her earning tens of thousands of dollars more than her, and in one case, she said she had a male employee join her team with a higher salary despite the fact that she was his superior.
Google has always operated an open policy that even allowed employees to question some of the policies of employees within the company. Pichai's email was sent about an hour before the event was to start Thursday afternoon.
"In recognition of Googlers' concerns, we need to step back and create a better set of conditions for us to have the discussion", Mr. Pichai wrote.
For those not following along, Damore, a senior engineer at the world's biggest search engine, wrote a memo about a month ago entitled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber". Only after the memo spread quickly online did the company take action, he wrote.
That prompts a larger question of the limits of Google's power, and not just within the cult compound from which Damore got exiled this week.
In late June, Google announced the hiring of Danielle Brown as its new head of diversity.