Kannan did not respond to a request for comment. In an interview with CNN Business, Baker said he reached a point of exhaustion in trying to improve the company’s culture.
“Someone as amazing as Timnit should be working at Google. It’s important she should be there,” he said. “And Google failed to keep her employed, period.”
Gebru initially tweeted that she had been “immediately fired” for an email she recently sent to Google’s Brain Women and Allies internal mailing list. In the email she expressed dismay over the ongoing lack of diversity at the company and frustration over an internal process related to the review of a not-yet published research paper she coauthored.
In later tweets, Gebru clarified that no one at Google explicitly told her that she was fired. Rather, she said Google would not meet a number of her conditions for returning and accepted her resignation immediately because it felt that her email reflected “behavior that is inconsistent with the expectations of a Google manager.”
Kannan tweeted Wednesday that the exits of both women “crossed a personal red line” he wrote down when he started working at Google — the red line, he wrote, was “retaliation against a teammate who stands up for something I believe in.”
“I know I gained a lot from Google, but I also gained a lot from both of their work, and they were wronged,” he wrote.
Baker wrote, “I joined a company of a few thousand people, one that recognized we had a diversity problem. And despite hiring in well over a hundred thousand new faces, we remain a company with a diversity problem.”