Google employees from around the world walked out of work on Thursday to demand that the company change how it handles allegations of sexual misconduct. According to CNN, employees joined the global protest to condemn Google’s “destructive culture,” and to call for greater transparency and equity. Photos from the Google Walkout, as it has been dubbed, illustrate that protests took place in Dublin, London, Tokyo, Berlin, and numerous other cities.
The walkouts followed a New York Times investigation last week that uncovered severance packages for Google executives accused of sexual misconduct. The investigation specifically found that Google kept quiet for years about sexual misconduct allegations against Android creator Andy Rubin and two other executives. Rubin denied the accusation made against him and Google ultimately paid Rubin $90 million when he left the company, according to The Times.
According to The Verge, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent an email to employees earlier this week, in which he pledged his support for the walkout and apologized for the company’s past actions. He also wrote that Google had fired 48 employees for sexual harassment over the course of the past two years without giving any of them severance packages.
As photos from Thursday’s protests indicate, Google employees walked out on multiple continents, including at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.
Thursday’s protests were a coordinated effort to challenge a culture of sexual violence. In an Instagram post published ahead of the protests, Google Walkout organizers outlined their demands, including an inclusive process for sexual misconduct reporting and an end to pay inequity.
One popular sign from protests across the U.S. stated “happy to quit for $90M — no sexual harassment required.” The sign alludes to the $90 million severance package that Google reportedly paid to Rubin when he left the company in 2014.
In New York City, numerous protest signs denounced sexual harassment and “unfair workplaces.” One Google employee even wondered whether their hard work was going directly toward Google’s payouts to executives accused of sexual misconduct.
Google employees are also calling for an end to forced arbitration, so that employees who report harassment and discrimination retain the right to sue.
A popular chant from protests in Mountain View, Chicago, and other cities noted that “women’s rights are workers’ rights.” In San Francisco, organizers also read out reports of discrimination and harassment from their offices.
In New York City, an overhead shot of the walkout showed hundreds of Google employees gathering in protest, many of whom — according to NBC News — were still wearing their employee badges and gear.
In Seattle, meanwhile, protesters carried signs reading, “no one is free when others are oppressed” and “Don’t Be Evil” — Google’s one-time unofficial motto.
Even employees who couldn’t be in their respective offices on the day of the walkout tweeted their solidarity with the global protest. The walkout began at 11:10 a.m. local time in Tokyo, and quickly spread across the world at that same time in each time zone. Thousands of people took to the streets to challenge Google’s handling of sexual misconduct cases, and made it clear that they would continue to hold the company accountable.