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Google CEO cancels ‘town hall’ on gender dispute amid employee safety concerns

PALO ALTO, CALIF.—Google CEO Sundar Pichai has cancelled an internal town hall meant to address gender discrimination after employee questions for management began to leak online.

Pichai said in an email to staff that several Google employees became fearful for their safety and grew concerned about being outed for speaking up at the town hall.

He said the company will aim to create several other forums “where people can feel comfortable to speak freely.” Pichai’s email was sent about an hour before the event was to start Thursday afternoon.

The town hall was meant to hear out employee grievances over a flare-up that has consumed Google for much of the week. It began last weekend after engineer James Damore circulated a memo that claimed biological gender differences helped explain why women are under-represented at the company.

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