San Francisco Pride organizers say they won’t ban Google from the annual Pride Parade on Sunday, despite receiving a letter signed by almost 100 Google employees concerned about how their company handles hate speech.
The employees asked for Google to be banned from the pride parade on June 30th. The company came under fire this month for refusing to remove homophobic videos targeting a journalist. Instead, YouTube banned hate speech and demonetized the channel. However, the company still offered a platform for the pundit, Steven Crowder, to direct his viewers to a site to purchase merchandise.
“Whenever we press for change, we are told only that the company will ‘take a hard look at these policies,'” the letter says. “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 organizers acknowledged that Google and Youtube “must do more to elevate and protect the voices of LGBTQ+ creators,” but said Google “has been a considerate partner for a number of years.”
“As we commemorate the roots of our movement in resistance, we also understand that San Francisco Pride has become synonymous with the values of inclusion and acceptance,” organizers said in a statement. “In the spirit of community and growth, we confirm Google as a continued participant in the 2019 SF Pride Parade.”
A Google spokesman told Fortune the company has “marched in the San Francisco Pride Parade for more than a decade, and we are excited to continue the tradition this weekend.”
The decision comes after Google employees were asked to not protest on the company’s float, but were reminded they are welcome to if they march in a personal capacity, outside of the Google contingent.
It’s a tradition for many tech companies, including Google, Amazon, Apple, and many others, to sponsor floats during San Francisco’s Pride parade for LGBTQ employees, allies, and executives who want to participate in the festive event. Apple CEO Tim Cook, the most prominent openly gay CEO in the United States, has previously made an appearance at the parade with Apple’s team.
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