The Alt-Right Finds a New Enemy in Silicon Valley

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from The New York Times,

When James Damore, a Google engineer, was fired this week for writing a 10-page manifesto spelling out his grievances with the company’s progressive values and positing that biological differences explained the tech industry’s gender gap, it might have seemed like the end of a bizarre, short-lived morality tale.

But for the alt-right, the battle was just beginning.

Minutes after Mr. Damore’s firing was announced, a flurry of right-wing websites, message boards and social media cliques sprang into action, eager to paint the episode as another example of liberal political correctness run amok. A headline on Breitbart, the conservative news site, screamed in capital letters about “blacklists.” Users on Twitter and 4chan, the message board beloved by pro-Trump types, began to organize a boycott of Google’s services. Milo Yiannopoulos, the alt-right provocateur, called Mr. Damore’s firing “disgusting” in a Facebook post, and offered to help him land on his feet.

For alt-right activists, who occupy the rightmost flanks of a powerful conservative internet subculture, Google’s response to Mr. Damore’s memo was low-hanging fruit for mockery. But there is another reason that the alt-right’s opposition campaign appeared so quickly, with such well-practiced maneuvers.

For the last several months, far-right activists have mounted an aggressive political campaign against some of Silicon Valley’s biggest players. Extending their attacks beyond social networks like Facebook and Twitter, tech’s typical free-speech battlegrounds, they have accused a long list of companies, including Airbnb, PayPal and Patreon, of censoring right-wing views, and have pledged to expose Silicon Valley for what they say is a pervasive, industrywide liberal bias.

Complaints like these might once have been easily dismissed. But in the Trump era, as the right wing’s internet warriors have refined their tactics and gained legitimate political influence, they are putting Silicon Valley in an uncomfortable position.

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