Nearly a year ago, Andy Rubin took a leave of absence from Essential, after The Information alleged that he was in an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate while he led the Android team at Google. Rubin returned to Essential not long after, but now more details about his time at Google have been released by The New York Times.
According to NYT, Andy Rubin often “berated subordinates as stupid or incompetent,” with little retaliation from Google executives. The report claims that Google only took action when “bondage sex videos” were found on Rubin’s work computer, which caused his bonus to be docked that year.
Rubin’s ex-wife said in a civil lawsuit that he had multiple “ownership relationships” with other women, with a screenshot of an email reading, “Being owned is kinda like you are my property, and I can loan you to other people.” Rubin started dating a subordinate from the Android team in 2012, while he was still leading the division at Google. According to the woman, she was pressured into meeting him at a hotel in 2013, after which the relationship ended.
She allegedly waited until the following year to file a complaint with Google. The company began an investigation, but a few weeks into the inquiry, Google’s board of directors gave Rubin a $150 million stock grant. It’s not clear if anyone on the board knew about the investigation at the time.
Google’s investigation found the woman’s complaint to be valid, and Larry Page (the CEO at the time) decided Rubin should leave the company. Google could have legally fired Rubin, but instead negotiated a resignation that involved a $90 million severance package and a non-compete clause. The company also kept quiet about the misconduct investigation.
Andy Rubin is still the lead executive at Essential, the technology company he founded in 2015. According to a report from earlier this year, Essential is currently trying to raise funds, and has allegedly canceled its next phone.
Andy Rubin has responded to The New York Times’ article, stating there are “numerous inaccuracies.”
2/2 to disparage me during a divorce and custody battle. Also, I am deeply troubled that anonymous Google executives are commenting about my personnel file and misrepresenting the facts.
— Andy Rubin (@Arubin) October 26, 2018
Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent an email to all company employees today about the article, explaining that Google is “taking an increasingly hard line on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority.” The email doesn’t mention Andy Rubin by name:
Today’s story in The New York Times was difficult to read.
We are dead serious about making sure we provide a safe and inclusive workplace. We want to assure you that we review every single complaint about sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct, we investigate, and we take action.
In recent years, we’ve made a number of changes, including taking an increasingly hard line on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority: in the last two years, 48 people have been terminated for sexual harassment, including 13 who were senior managers and above. None of these individuals received an exit package.
In 2015, we launched [email protected] and our annual Internal Investigations Report to provide transparency about these types of investigations at Google. Because we know that reporting harassment can be traumatic, we provide confidential channels to share any inappropriate behavior you experience or see. We support and respect those who have spoken out. You can find many ways to do this at go/saysomething. You can make a report anonymously if you wish.
We’ve also updated our policy to require all VPs and SVPs to disclose any relationship with a co-worker regardless of reporting line or presence of conflict.
We are committed to ensuring that Google is a workplace where you can feel safe to do your best work and where there are serious consequences for anyone who behaves inappropriately.
Sundar and Eileen
Following last week’s report of Google failure to handle allegations of Rubin’s misconduct in a transparent, appropriate manner, it looks like the company’s employees have been preparing their own response. According to internal sources, later this week over 200 Google engineers are planning a “women’s walk” demonstration to highlight their growing frustration.
Employees intending to participate in the walkout have voiced their dissatisfaction with what they see as a pervasive pattern of Google tolerating unacceptable behavior, failing to hand down adequate punishment, or even giving the appearance of rewarding such conduct, as was the case with Rubin.