Photographer: Angelos Tzortzinis/Bloomberg
Google Researcher Ousted After Allegations of Sexual HarassmentBy
Google said a researcher has left the company after allegations of sexual harassment, the latest reaction to widening evidence of misconduct across the technology industry and other sectors.
Steven Scott served as a director of statistics research at Google since 2008. In December, a data scientist named Kristian Lum posted a blog on sexual harassment in Bayesian statistics, a field that underpins artificial intelligence, where Google and other tech giants are investing deeply.
Lum wrote that a man she called "S" grabbed her inappropriately at an industry conference in 2010 and said that on separate occasions he took advantage of another woman she didn’t identify. Two people who were told about the conduct from two alleged victims told Bloomberg the man was Scott. After Lum’s post, several members of the research community voiced support for her and recounted similar experiences.
"I’d love to tell my side of the story, but I’m afraid you’ll need to get it from firstname.lastname@example.org," Scott wrote in an email last month, referring to Google’s public relations department.
A Google spokeswoman said this week that the company conducted an internal investigation into the allegations and confirmed that Scott no longer works at the Alphabet Inc. unit. She declined to comment further. Scott didn’t respond to emails seeking comment on Wednesday and Thursday.
The accusations surfaced during a growing debate over the lack of diversity among machine-learning researchers and whether computer scientists are paying enough attention to bias -- including gender and racial bias -- in the data sets they’re using to train AI systems.
Along with other high-profile companies in entertainment and media, tech firms and the venture capitalists who fund them have been grappling with increasingly widespread sexual harassment allegations.