The Industry

The Google X Executive Accused of Sexual Harassment Has Now Resigned

A Google logo and Android statue are seen at the Googleplex in Menlo Park, California on November 4, 2016.  / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON        (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Alphabet is down an executive.
JOSH EDELSON/Getty Images

Richard DeVaul, an executive at X, the semi-secret research and development arm of Google parent Alphabet, is no longer employed there as of Tuesday evening, as Axios first reported and a source within X confirmed to Slate. DeVaul’s departure follows an explosive investigation by the New York Times that detailed how Google protected multiple high-level executives who had been accused of sexually assault or harassment. According to the source who works at X, DeVaul resigned.

DeVaul was among the executives named by the Times, specifically for a 2013 incident in which he reportedly told a young female job candidate that he is polyamorous and later, when he saw her at Burning Man while she was still waiting to hear back about the position, asked her if she would undress for a back massage. Star Simpson, the job applicant, said that when she reported the incident to Google human resources two years later, an official told her, that “her account was ‘more likely than not’ true and that ‘appropriate action’ was taken.” In addition, Simpson said she was asked not to speak about the incident again. In a statement to the Times, DeVaul apologized for his “error of judgment.”

On Monday, Slate reported that DeVaul continued to work at Google. Some employees within X were so distraught by the Times report that a poster with DeVaul’s image was torn from the wall at the company. In a statement to employees last Friday, Astro Teller, the head of X, wrote that “we do take these issues very seriously, we investigate every allegation we receive, and we do what’s right based on the information we have.” In the memo, which Slate obtained and verified with two sources at Alphabet, Teller added that he’s committed to “holding people who behave badly accountable and keeping those who report bad behavior safe.”

The Times investigation primarily focused on Andy Rubin, creator of Android, who reportedly received a $90 million exit package even after Google concluded that a sexual assault claim against him (for coercing an employee to perform oral sex in a hotel room in 2013) was credible.

Hundreds of employees at the company are planning to stage a walkout on Thursday in protest of how the company has protected, and even rewarded, executives after credible sexual assault claims have been reported. The walkout, which was first reported by Buzzfeed on Monday, was confirmed by Meredith Whitaker, the founder of Google’s open research group in a tweet Tuesday. “Confirming: the Google Walkout is real and deeply inspiring. Hundreds of people are demanding structural change, not just inclusive sounding PR,” Whitaker wrote.

Following the Times investigation, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Eileen Naughton, the company’s vice president of people operations, revealed in an email to employees on Thursday that the company fired 48 people for sexual harassment over the last two years—and that none of them received exit packages.