Last summer, Google fired James Damore for violating its code of conduct after the engineer circulated a memo arguing that women may perform less well in technical jobs than men because of biological differences between the sexes. After his termination, Damore became a hero to some conservatives who see Silicon Valley as an echo chamber; this month, he joined a proposed class-action lawsuit against the company.
Both Google CEO Sundar Pichai and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcikci addressed the incident during the taping of an MSNBC town hall, which will air next Friday. Pichai says that he’s sorry that “it played out in a polarized way” and that some people thought Google sacked Damore as a political statement. As for the actual firing, “I don’t regret it at all.”
Wojcikci, who wrote about the controversy for Fortune, said that the most difficult part of the experience was the conversation it prompted with her kids. “They reality surprised me, because the first thing they asked is, ‘Is it true that women are less likely to be successful in the tech industry because of biology?,” said the mother of five.