The Google logo is seen alongside a rainbow flag, symbolizing LGBTQ+ pride and social movement, on June 7, 2022 in New York City.
Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images
Google is moving away from the drag show it was planning to end Pride month after a group of employees circulated an internal petition against the show, alleging religious discrimination.
Each year, Google sponsors a series of Pride events for employees and the public in San Francisco and other locations. Closing this year’s event was a “Pride in Drag Show” starring popular performer “Peaches Christ,” who was due to perform Tuesday at Beaux, an LGBTQ+ bar in San Francisco, to “end the legacy,” according to now-deleted sources. amazing month”. An internal account of the incident seen by CNBC.
However, employees noticed that around the same time a petition against the event began circulating, the company removed the show from its internal company event page, according to internal discussions seen by CNBC.
Hundreds of employees have signed a petition against drag shows, claiming that drag shows sexualize and disrespect Christian colleagues and accusing Google of religious discrimination, according to a petition seen by CNBC. “Their provocative and provocative art is considered a direct affront to the religious beliefs and sensitivities of Christians,” the petition states, referring to the drag performers.
Google confirmed to CNBC that it is no longer classifying the show as a Google-sanctioned diversity, equity and inclusion event. The company has set up a separate social gathering at Google offices, which employees are now encouraged to attend.
In a statement to CNBC, spokesman Chris Pappas said the internal team planned the closing drag contest “without going through our standard event process.” “While event organizers have moved official team events to the venue, the performance will still take place at the planned venue and it will be open to the public so staff can still attend.”
Pappas added: “We’ve long been very proud to celebrate and support the LGBTQ+ community. Over the years, our pride celebrations have often featured drag artists, and this year included several.”
The company did not say whether the employee petition played a role in changing its decision to end the event.
Organizers complained to People Operations, Google’s human resources arm, and claimed the venue violated one of Google’s event guidelines, which prohibit sexually explicit activity, the petition said. The petition also demands an apology from the organizers and promoters of the event.
Some employees criticized the petition, saying the complaints were subjective and sparked a political culture war, according to internal discussions seen by CNBC. Drag shows have been targeted by religious and conservative groups, as well as politicians, ahead of the 2024 presidential election.include series of legislative proposals Backed by Republican governor, targeting drag events.
Employees also criticized Google’s leadership for quietly removing the event from its internal website and bowing to pressure from petitioners. A company spokesperson said the change to the event was communicated to the team’s employee resource group last week.
San Francisco venues host Pride events each June, known as Pride Month, and these events often include drag shows for various stage acts. Google is one of many corporate sponsors of various Pride events, which also include fireside chats with influential figures and screenings of community documentaries for the public and employees.
The company’s Pride website includes several statements in support of the LGBTQ+ community, such as a “space to belong,” “The global lockdown has reaffirmed our widespread need for inclusive spaces that bring us together and celebrate belonging,” wrote the post.