Google CEO Sundar Pichai planned to address the controversy over an anti-diversity memo at an all-employee town hall meeting—but he called it off after workers said they were worried about online harassment. Pichai said questions from employees had been leaked and their identities had been published on alt-right websites, exposing them to online harassment, CNN reports. "Googlers are writing in, concerned about their safety and worried they may be 'outed' publicly for asking a question in the Town Hall," the CEO said in a letter to employees seen by Recode. He promised to "create a better set of conditions for us to have the discussion" at some point in the near future.
The controversy exploded after memo author James Damore was fired for arguing that biological differences make women unsuited to some tech jobs. After canceling Thursday's meeting, Pichai spoke at an event for girls on the Google campus, addressing teams of young coders from around the world, the Verge reports. It's important that "more women and girls have the opportunity ... to learn how to code, create, and innovate," he said. "I want you to know that there's a place for you in this industry, there's a place for you at Google," he added. "Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You belong here and we need you." (Damore says he was "punished" and "shamed" for trying to "improve" the company.)