Google reassigns diversity lead after antisemitic blog post comes to light
Google has reassigned global diversity lead Kamau Bobb after it deemed his past comments as antisemitic.
Bobb, a global lead for diversity strategy and research at Google, has been in the role at the company for nearly three years, according to his LinkedIn profile.
The Washington Free Beacon recently surfaced a 2007 blog post by Bobb about Israel in which he wrote that Jewish people had an “insensitivity” to suffering and stated “If I were a Jew I would be concerned about my insatiable appetite for war and killing in defense of myself.” He also imagined if he were Jewish, writing, “I don’t know how I would reconcile that identity with the behavior of fundamentalist Jewish extremists or of Israel as a nation.” The post has since been removed, but is duplicated here.
A Google spokesperson told CNBC that Bobb has apologized for his remarks and will no longer be part of the diversity team going forward. He will work in STEM education at the company.
“We unequivocally condemn the past writings by a member of our diversity team that are causing deep offense and pain to members of our Jewish community and our LGBTQ+ community,” the company said in a statement. “This has come at at a time where we’ve seen an alarming increase in antisemitic attacks,” the Google spokesperson added. “Antisemitism is a vile prejudice that has given rise to unfathomable acts. It has no place in society and we stand with our Jewish community in condemning it.”
Bobb did not immediately return requests for comment.
The move comes as the company faces criticism for its commitment to diversity and inclusion and those who lead it. It also comes as tech companies grapple with how to handle comments made by employees in the years before their employment — particularly for companies like Google, which has long touted an open dialogue with employees.
However, Jewish Google employees have complained about the company’s handling of internal discussions, alleging it doesn’t enforce policies evenly.
Google’s Jewish employee resource group recently called on the company to increase its support of Palestinians amid Israel’s deadly bombing campaign in Gaza, claiming “Anti-Zionism is not antisemitism and this conflation harms the pursuit of justice for Palestinians and Jews alike by limiting freedom of expression and distracting from real acts of antisemitism.”