Google’s legal chief, David Drummond, comes under the spotlight following new allegations about his personal conduct – gpgmail


Alphabet Chief Legal Officer David Drummond is at the center of a media firestorm, following a new Medium post authored by a former Google employee who was engaged in a years-long relationship with Drummond more than 10 years ago.

Though the extramarital affair was originally reported on last fall by the New York Times in the broader context of Google’s permissive workplace culture, the former employee, Jennifer Blakely, says in a new and far more detailed account of their relationship that Drummond was a serial philanderer, leaving his wife for Blakely, then leaving Blakely and the son that he fathered with her for another now-former Google employee.

She adds that Drummond also had “an affair with his ‘personal assistant’ who he moved into one of his new homes.”

We reached out to Google, asking for comment either from the company or Drummond, and have yet to hear back.

It’s an enormously unflattering portrait and it comes at a delicate time for Google, which found itself at the center of the #metoo movement last year, after the Times revealed that another former executive, Andy Rubin, had been awarded a handsome exit package following a sexual misconduct claim that the company reportedly found credible.

In addition to accusing Drummond of neglecting her, Blakely also accuses him of being an absentee parent to a son who she says was very much planned by the couple, writing that “[m]onths or years would go by where he wouldn’t see [their son] or respond to my calls or texts with updates and pictures of him or even ask how he was doing, let alone how he might help out, knowing full well I was alone and in desperate need.”

Elsewhere in her post, Blakely says that following a custody battle over the boy that she won when he was four-and-a-half-years old, “David began providing ample child support.”

According to several sources familiar with the situation, the situation is more nuanced than Blakely describes and it was not a particularly happy union, though these same individuals acknowledge that much of her account is true. Drummond, who was Google’s general counsel back in 2001 when they met, was married when he began an affair with Blakeley, who’d been hired into Google’s legal department as a senior contracts manager. Though Google merely discouraged managers from having affairs with subordinates at the time (it wasn’t against the company’s code of conduct), when Drummond finally told the company in 2007 that Blakeley was pregnant with his child, she was moved into a role in the company’s sales department, far from the company’s legal department.

Blakely writes she had “zero experience in sales” and that it was a hard transition to make: “I did my best to keep up but I was floundering and became depressed at work.”

She left the company roughly one year later, in 2008. She says she and Drummond and their son were living together by that time, adding that seven months later, he broke up with her via text, saying he was “never coming back” to their shared home.

“And he didn’t,” she writes.

Drummond’s star has continued to rise at Google, where he has now spent 17 years and currently serves as its senior vice president of corporate development, as well as the chief legal officer for Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

Google has made numerous changes in the face of criticisms that male executives at the company have not faced consequences in the past for sexual misconduct at work — criticisms that boiled into anger, then walk-outs by tens of thousands of Google employees.

Among them: Google no longer force employees to settle disputes with the company in private arbitration, including in cases of sexual harassment or assault; employees can now lodge complaints relating to harassment and other misconduct via a dedicated website; an and they can bring colleagues to support them to meetings related to investigations.

Still, Google has never commented specifically on Blakely’s allegations and it will be curious to see if this newest salvo forces its hand.

The affair, and others at the company, don’t seem to have forced dramatic changes to its official code of contact, in any case.

According to a section titled: “Friends and Relatives; Co-Worker Relationships,” it cautions employees  that “romantic relationships between co-workers can, depending on the work roles and respective positions of the co-workers involved, create an actual or apparent conflict of interest. If a romantic relationship does create an actual or apparent conflict, it may require changes to work arrangements or even the termination of employment of either or both individuals involved. Consult Google’s Employee Handbook for additional guidance on this issue.”


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NASA Astronaut Accused of World’s First ‘Space Crime’ Denies Allegations


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Decorated US astronaut Anne McClain had been accused of committing the first crimes in space. McClain is going through an acrimonious divorce and her spouse, Summer Worden, has alleged that McClain committed financial improprieties by accessing financial records while serving aboard the ISS (International Space Station) and has filed a complaint with the FTC and NASA’s Office of Inspector General, accusing McClain of identity theft and improperly accessing records.

The claims of financial harm are now being investigated by NASA, but McClain is strongly denying any intent or wrongdoing:

The question of jurisdiction in space is a complex one. The five space agencies that operate the space station — US, Russia, Japan, China, and Europe — have agreements in place to hammer out issues that might occur while aboard, but to the best of anyone’s knowledge, this is the first time there have been allegations of any kind of illegal activity occurring in space (at least, as far as something an astronaut might personally do). The New York Times points out that with the advent of space tourism, these kinds of questions are going to be raised on a more regular basis. What does legal discovery look like, for example, when it impacts a NASA network? In any kind of scenario in which individuals from more than one nation are involved in a dispute, how should said dispute be adjudicated, and under what auspices?

These sorts of questions are esoteric at the moment because we have no serious space-tourism industry. At present, seven space tourists have made eight spaceflights. From 2001-2009, the Russian Space Agency provided space flights, but they ceased doing so after 2009 because the expanded crew capabilities of the ISS require the Soyuz to carry more passengers to and from the station. On June 7, 2019, NASA announced that it would allow private astronauts to return to the ISS using either SpaceX’s Dragon2 module or Boeing’s Starliner. Bigelow Aerospace wants to launch an inflatable space habitat, the BA 330, into LEO by 2022.

McClain was scheduled to take part in the first all-female spacewalk earlier this year, but she had to back out due to a spacesuit sizing issue (NASA has two medium-size spacesuit available on the ISS, but only one was properly outfitted for spacewalking and it was already scheduled to be in-use by her astronaut partner). NASA opted to change the spacewalk roster rather than spend hours fitting the other suit for simultaneous operation. The complaint filed against McClain accuses her of identity theft but acknowledges that funds had not been moved out of the account.

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