A former Google employee expanded on allegations that she previously made against a top Google executive with whom she had an alleged affair. Her story, parts of which were reported in The New York Times in 2018, has helped ignite a new wave of criticism of the behavior of male executives at the company and a perceived lack of accountability for their actions.
In a Medium post published on Wednesday, Jennifer Blakely shed new light on her alleged affair with David Drummond while he was married. She said the years-long affair began in 2004, when she was a senior contract manager in the legal department and Drummond was general counsel. In 2007, they had a child together, she said.
“It’s not a secret that Jennifer and I had a difficult break-up 10 years ago. I am far from perfect and I regret my part in that,” said Drummond in a statement obtained by BuzzFeed.
Drummond, Blakely wrote in the post, was “well aware” that the relationship violated a Google policy “discouraging” and later “outright banning” relationships with direct reports. Once their son was born, Blakely says she moved to a new department for which she had “zero experience.” Drummond, by contrast, continued to climb up the company ladder and is now the chief legal officer for Alphabet, Google’s parent company.
In her account Wednesday, Blakely called into question the “blatant womanizing and philandering that became common practice among some (but certainly not all) executives, starting at the very top” at Google.
Attempts to reach Blakely went unanswered. Google declined to comment. Drummond also did not respond to a request for comment.
“As you would expect, there are two sides to all of the conversations and details Jennifer recounts, and I take a very different view about what happened,” Drummond’s statement continued.
Google’s history of powerful executives engaging in interoffice romances drew fresh scrutiny in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Last October, The New York Times published an investigation into how Google allegedly protected three executives accused of sexual misconduct over the past decade. The focus then was mainly on Andy Rubin, the creator of Android. Rubin had been investigated while at the company for an inappropriate relationship, but the Times reported he still received a $90 million exit package when he was asked to resign from the company by CEO Larry Page.
Rubin, through a lawyer, denied the allegations. “None of the allegations made about Mr. Rubin are true,” he told CNN Business in a statement in October 2018, calling them “demonstrably false.”
Drummond was mentioned in that investigation, but remains in the top ranks of the company.
“We can now see, in clear detail, how multiple men in power abused that power at Google. We can see the example they set. We can see how Google chose to respond,” Erica Baker, a former Google employee, wrote on Twitter Wednesday in response to Blakely’s Medium post. “Have you stopped believing Google is a great place to work yet?”
Cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have each dated an employee, according to The New York Times. Google did