Google Won't Be Kicked Out of SF Pride — Despite Petition by Its Own Employees

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Revelers celebrate on the Google float at Cibeles square during the WorldPride 2017 parade in Madrid on July 1, 2017. (GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Organizers of the San Francisco Pride Parade said Wednesday that Google will remain a participant, despite employees of the tech giant asking for the company's removal from the festivities.

As first reported by Bloomberg, nearly 100 Google employees signed a letter sent to San Francisco Pride's board of directors criticizing how the company handles hate speech on YouTube and other Google products. The parade is scheduled for Sunday.

"We have spent countless hours advocating for our company to improve policies and practices regarding the treatment of LGBTQ+ persons, the depiction of LGBTQ+ persons, and harassment and hate speech directed at LGBTQ+ persons, on YouTube and other Google products," the employees wrote. "Whenever we press for change, we are told only that the company will 'take a hard look at these policies.' But we are never given a commitment to improve, and when we ask when these improvements will be made, we are always told to be patient."

San Francisco Pride said that while Google needs to do more to protect LGBTQ+ creators on its platforms, it has been receptive to criticism.

"Google has been a considerate partner of SF Pride for a number of years, and has historically been a strong ally to LGBTQ+ communities," San Francisco Pride said in a statement. "Google has long offered substantial benefits to their same-sex couple and transgender employees, and shown valuable public advocacy, opposing unfair legislation targeting LGBTQ communities, particularly trans individuals."

Coverage of San Francisco Pride

Workers involved with the letter had asked Google to allow them to walk with the company's parade contingent and protest, but Google refused.

Google said employees can protest at the parade, just not with the company, because the day is personally meaningful to many workers marching.

"Google has marched in the San Francisco Pride Parade for more than a decade and we are excited to continue the tradition this weekend," a Google spokesperson said in a statement. "We are grateful for SF Pride’s partnership and leadership."

Google most recently came under fire for saying videos by conservative comedian Steven Crowder containing homophobic and racist jokes about journalist Carlos Maza did not violate its policies. The next day, the company took away Crowder's ability to make money from his channel.