Citing “credible alt-left terrorist threats,” the right-wing leaders of planned protests against Google’s diversity policies have called off the demonstrations, which were scheduled to be held this weekend in nine cities across the country.
“Despite our clear and straightfoward [sic] statements denouncing bigotry and hatred, CNN and other mainstream media made malicious and false statements that our peaceful march was being organized by Nazi sympathizers,” reads a statement on marchongoogle.com. “Following the articles, credible threats from known Alt Left terrorist groups have been reported to and relevant authorities have been notified.”
“We hope to hold our peaceful march in a few weeks’ time,” the statement says.
The marches, which were set to target Google facilities from Mountain View to Boston, were organized in response to Google’s firing of a male employee who wrote an inflammatory memo on the tech giant’s diversity initiatives. James Damore’s now-infamous memo argued that Google’s attempts to hire more women in technical positions was harming the company because women are biologically less suited for the work. His argument was both scientifically contestable and highly offensive, particularly for many of the company’s female employees.
The planned March on Google was organized in defense of Damore and in opposition to what organizers call the “anti-free speech monopoly” Google. That mission alone would have drawn hecklers and counterprotesters. But then Charlottesville erupted when a white-supremacist rally descended on the town. Soon, links were drawn between the March on Google and the racist alt-right groups in Charlottesville. That made the march toxic.
Ultimately, though, it wasn’t the toxicity that led to the cancellation, it was the threat of violence. At least that’s what organizer Jack Posobiec says. The internet conspiracy theorist and Naval “urinalysis officer” tweeted one threat that marchers received and implied there were others like them.
Of course, that’s not the only theory on why these marches were canceled. It also could have been because no one was going to show up.