Breitbart published a leaked video from Google’s first all-hands meeting after the 2016 US presidential election on Wednesday, in a move that could serve as ammunition for claims that the tech company has acted in ways that are biased against conservatives. In the meeting, a series of Google executives acknowledges the disappointment and fears of many of their employees in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election as president, while also acknowledging that the process was fair and that Google employees have a wide range of political opinions.
“Most people here are pretty upset and pretty sad,” Google cofounder Sergey Brin says as the meeting begins. “I find this election deeply offensive, and I know many of you do too. It’s a stressful time, and it conflicts with many of our values. I think it’s a good time to reflect on that. … So many people apparently don’t share the values that we have.”
Google CEO Sundar Pichai told the audience that many employees had emailed him saying they were afraid of the consequences of a Trump administration. He encouraged them to speak up, reach out to political opponents, and embrace the democratic process.
“It was a fair and democratic process, and we honor that,” said Kent Walker, who leads Google’s legal and policy team.
Breitbart’s publication of the video comes at a time when conservatives are rallying around claims of bias at the search giant. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering opening an investigation into potential violations of antitrust and consumer-protection laws, Bloomberg reported. On Tuesday, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale published an op-ed in USA Today in which he detailed a list of complaints against Google, including that the company has unfairly restricted access to conservative videos posted to YouTube. Trump himself now routinely tweets allegations of bias.
“At a regularly scheduled all hands meeting, some Google employees and executives expressed their own personal views in the aftermath of a long and divisive election season,” Google said in a statement to Buzzfeed. “For over 20 years, everyone at Google has been able to freely express their opinions at these meetings. Nothing was said at that meeting, or any other meeting, to suggest that any political bias ever influences the way we build or operate our products. To the contrary, our products are built for everyone, and we design them with extraordinary care to be a trustworthy source of information for everyone, without regard to political viewpoint.”