Another leader of the giant Google Walkout protest is leaving the company

Isobel Asher Hamilton
Meredith Whittaker Google Walkout

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews


  • Meredith Whittaker, a Google research scientist who was one of the organizers of the giant Google employee walkout last year, has left the company.
  • A Google software engineer tweeted about her departure. It was later confirmed to Business Insider by a Google spokesman.
  • Whittaker previously said she'd suffered retaliation from the company after speaking out against its disastrous AI ethics board.
  • She is now the second Google Walkout organizer to have left in the space of little more than a month.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Another of the women behind the mass Google employee protest in 2018 has left the company.

Meredith Whittaker, a research scientist who founded and headed up Google's Open Research group, was one of six women who organized the Google Walkout last November.

She is now the second to have left in the space of little more than a month after Claire Stapleton left her role as a YouTube marketing manager in June. 

Google software engineer Chris Lu tweeted on Monday about Whittaker's departure, which a Google spokesman confirmed to Business Insider.

Tweet Embed:
//twitter.com/mims/statuses/1150859347766833152?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
Today is @mer__edith's final day at Google. Watching her experience as a whistleblower at Google and a victim of retaliation cannot signal good things for how AI institutions will react to negative criticism. #NotOkGoogle

Whittaker sent an internal company message in April saying she was suffering retaliation from Google after voicing her dissent against its ill-fated AI ethics council.

The council fell apart after the appointment of right-wing think tank head Kay Cole James, which sparked a public and employee backlash because she had previously voiced potentially anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigrant views.

Read more: A member of Google's disastrous AI council says the company needs to be treated like a "world power"

"Just after Google announced that it would disband its AI ethics council, I was informed my role would be changed dramatically," Whittaker wrote at the time.

Whittaker said she was also told by Google to relinquish her duties at the AI Now Institute, a research center focused on the social ramifications and ethics of AI.

"I'm told that to remain at the company I will have to abandon my work on AI ethics and the AI Now Institute, which I cofounded, and which has been doing rigorous and recognized work on these topics," she added.

Another of the Google Walkout organizers, Stapleton, said she was experiencing retaliation. Stapleton left the company in June, and said had she stayed, she could expect "public flogging, shunning, and stress."

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