Andy Rubin helped shape Android from a startup project with "tremendous potential" into an operating system used by billions of devices around the world today. He was the Vice President of Android at Google for years, and left the company in 2014 to start Essential. When he left Google, CEO Larry Page thanked him and wished Rubin "all the best with what's next."
Page conveniently left out the part where he asked for Rubin's resignation after claims of "sexual misconduct" were found "credible" by the company.
A female Google employee — with whom Rubin had an affair — accused him of what a New York Times article is calling 'sexual misconduct'. Two company executives say the woman told Google that in a hotel room in 2013, Rubin coerced her into performing oral sex, claims that the company investigated and found credible.
Google then allowed Rubin to resign and has paid him $2 million a month since his departure in a $90 million dollar 'exit package', with the last installment set to pay out to Mr. Rubin next month. This is the third time Google has protected an executive accused of sexual misconduct and paid them millions on their way out the door, but the amount paid to Rubin is much higher than previous cases.
This is the first time we've heard about the payments surrounding Rubin's departure, but not the allegations that facilitated it.
When the misconduct claims were first reported by The Information a year ago, Rubin took a very brief absence from Essential while denying the allegations, saying through his spokesperson Mick Sitrick that any relationship he had while at Google was consensual. Another Rubin spokesman repeated these denials, telling the New York Times "any relationship that Mr. Rubin had while at Google was consensual and did not involve any person who reported directly to him."
That Google found the claims credible and told no one is chilling.
This is also the first time we're hearing the severity of the claims against Rubin. While the New York Times consistently refers to the claims as sexual misconduct, coercing a person to engage in a sexual act is the literal textbook definition of sexual assault. That Google found those claims credible and chose not just to not tell anyone, but to pay Rubin tens of millions of dollars it has no legal obligation to is chilling.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai and VP of People Operations Eileen Naughton sent out an email to Googlers in response to the story today. It highlights some of the changes Google has made in the last two years, including expansions in avenues for reporting, the strengthened requirement of all VPs and Senior VPs to disclose any relationship with a co-worker, and the number of employees terminated for sexual harassment (48 employees, including 13 senior managers or above, with none receiving a exit package).
However, with horror story after horror story of Google protecting senior employees credibly accused of deeds that can only be described as evil, one has to wonder if the company's infamous old motto had an unspoken ending: don't be evil to men.
Update: Andy Rubin responded to the allegations a few hours after the New York Times story was released, refuting the claims of the severity of the misconduct and taking issue with both the reporters' perception of the situation and Google employees' accounts of the situation. He also claims that the statement of a $90 million exit package were "wild exaggerations."https://twitter.com/Arubin/status/1055632399172755456