Big turnout of 'Googlers' at headquarters in global protest
Google employees poured out of buildings at the company's Mountain View campus, filling courtyards and patios in solidarity with co-workers who staged similar demonstrations at offices in countries around the world to protest the company's handling of sexual misconduct
Demonstrators streamed across the Mountain View campus, some waving signs bearing messages such as "Time's Up Tech" and "Happy to quit for $90 million - no sexual harassment required."
The turnout in California was the final stage of a global walkout that began in Asia and spread to Google offices in Europe.
Some protestors chalked statements such as "Not OK Google" in large letters on pavement as television news helicopters circled overhead.
Images, video and comments were being shared and tweeted with hashtag #GoogleWalkout so heavily from smartphones that some lamented on Twitter that telecom coverage was getting overloaded at the campus.
"Not only will these women and men change the Tech Bro Culture in Silicon Valley, they're going to change the world!" Democratic California congresswoman Jackie Speier tweeted.
"The worldwide #GoogleWalkout is another defining moment in our fight to change Corp America’s toxic culture."
The walkout lasted more than an hour, according to updates on Twitter.
"Earlier this week, we let Googlers know that we are aware of the activities planned for today and that employees will have the support they need if they wish to participate," Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said in response to an AFP inquiry.
"We are taking in all their feedback so we can turn these ideas into action."
The protest took shape after Google said last week that it had fired 48 employees in the past two years -- including 13 senior executives -- as a result of allegations of sexual misconduct, citing "an increasingly hard line" on inappropriate conduct.
That statement came after The New York Times reported last week that a senior Google employee, Android creator Andy Rubin, received an exit package worth $90 million as he faced allegations of misconduct, and that Google had covered up other claims of sexual harassment. Rubin has denied the allegations and claimed he was the victim of a "smear campaign."