'Oh my God, this is a sexual harassment claim waiting to happen': Early Google insiders describe Sergey Brin as a company 'playboy' who 'got around' with female employees

  • A new book about Google's early company culture, called "Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley," alleges that Google cofounder Sergey Brin used to be a "playboy" among female employees.
  • In the book, one early Google employee said Brin "got around" with female employees.
  • Another early employee said she feared that Brin's behavior would result in a sexual harassment claim at the time, according to the book.

A new book about Google's early company culture contains anecdotes that allege Google cofounder Sergey Brin was a "playboy" among female employees.

The behind-the-scenes account from reporter Adam Fisher, called 'Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley', draws on the recollections of early Google employees, Stanford professors, and insiders deeply acquainted with the company's founding.

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An excerpt published in Vanity Fair claims that Google's culture was once a sexually-fraught environment, in which company cofounder Sergey Brin was once widely regarded as "the Google playboy."

"[Brin] was known for getting his fingers caught in the cookie jar with employees that worked for the company in the masseuse room," Charlie Ayers, a former executive chef for the company, recalls. "He got around."

Heather Cairns, who was among the first 200 people hired by the company, describes Google's culture as sexually tense.

"Remember, we’re a bunch of twentysomethings except for me — ancient at 35 — so there’s some hormones and they’re raging," she said.

When the company's HR raised eyebrows at Brin's sexual conquests, Ayers says Brin had suggested he was entitled to engage with his employees in whatever manner he saw fit.

"HR told me that Sergey’s response to it was, 'Why not? They’re my employees,'" said Ayers. "But you don’t have employees for f-----g! That’s not what the job is."

Cairn, too, said that she found Brin's exploits to be troubling: "Oh my God: This is a sexual harassment claim waiting to happen! That was my concern," she said. 

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

You can read the full story over at Vanity Fair here.

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