New York (CNN Business)A former Google employee expanded on allegations that she previously made against a top Google executive with whom she had an alleged affair. Her story, parts of which were reported in The New York Times in 2018, helped ignite a new wave of criticism of the behavior of male executives at the company and a perceived lack of accountability for their actions.
In a Medium post published on Wednesday, Jennifer Blakely shed new light on her alleged affair with David Drummond while he was married. She said the years-long affair began in 2004, when she was a senior contract manager in the legal department and Drummond was general counsel. In 2007, they had a child together, she said.”It’s not a secret that Jennifer and I had a difficult break-up 10 years ago. I am far from perfect and I regret my part in that,” said Drummond in a statement obtained by BuzzFeed.Drummond, Blakely wrote in the post, was “well aware” that the relationship violated a Google policy “discouraging” and later “outright banning” relationships with direct reports. Once their son was born, Blakely says she moved to a new department for which she had “zero experience.” Drummond, by contrast, continued to climb up the company ladder and is now the chief legal officer for Alphabet, Google’s parent company. In her account Wednesday, Blakely called into question the “blatant womanizing and philandering that became common practice among some (but certainly not all) executives, starting at the very top” at Google.Read MoreAttempts to reach Blakely went unanswered. Google declined to comment. Drummond also did not respond to a request for comment.”As you would expect, there are two sides to all of the conversations and details Jennifer recounts, and I take a very different view about what happened,” Drummond’s statement continued.Google’s history of powerful executives engaging in interoffice romances drew fresh scrutiny in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Last October, The New York Times published an investigation into how Google allegedly protected three executives accused of sexual misconduct over the past decade. The focus then was mainly on Andy Rubin, the creator of Android. Rubin had been investigated while at the company for an inappropriate relationship, but the Times reported he still received a $90 million exit package when he was asked to resign from the company by CEO Larry Page. Rubin, through a lawyer, denied the allegations. “None of the allegations made about Mr. Rubin are true,” he told CNN Business in a statement in October 2018, calling them “demonstrably false.”Drummond was mentioned in that investigation, but remains in the top ranks of the company.Google wants to squash political debates among its employees“We can now see, in clear detail, how multiple men in power abused that power at Google. We can see the example they set. We can see how Google chose to respond,” Erica Baker, a former Google employee, wrote on Twitter Wednesday in response to Blakely’s Medium post. “Have you stopped believing Google is a great place to work yet?”Cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have each dated an employee, according to The New York Times. Google did not respond to requests about these allegations.Eric Schmidt, Google’s former CEO and executive chairman, once had an affair with a woman who was briefly hired as a consultant for the company, according to multiple publications.In a particularly striking anecdote, Blakely writes that Drummond allegedly sat down at her kitchen table one day in 2014 and “using my laptop, he pulled up a year-old article from the Daily Mail about Eric Schmidt’s philandering lifestyle.” She continued: “David explained to me how Eric’s ‘personal life’ was, in essence, his privilege. The article was apparently a reminder to me of how things worked.”Schmidt declined to comment. A person close to Schmidt told CNN Business, “This has nothing to do with Eric. There are no similarities between him and this situation.” In response to The New York Times’ investigation, CEO Sundar Pichai and VP of people operations Eileen Naughton told employees they were “dead serious about making sure we provide a safe and inclusive workplace.” They added that Google updated its policy to require all vice presidents and senior vice presidents to disclose any relationship with a coworker, regardless of whether they report to each other. That email did not directly address Drummond.Android creator accused of cheating wife out of millions of dollarsThe company’s response was not enough to satisfy staff, though. Days after the report, Google employees and contract workers participated in organized walkouts across its corporate offices around the world, calling for sweeping changes to how the company handles harassment and discrimination. One week later, Google announced it was eliminating its forced arbitration policy for employees bringing sexual assault or harassment claims.Two of the original walkout organizers have since left the company, citing alleged retaliation in response to their efforts. In addition to his work at Google, Drummond sits on the board of Rocket Lawyer and investment firm KKR, as well as serves as an adviser to OZY Media. All three companies did not respond to request for comment. Crisis Text Line, a nonprofit providing crisis intervention through text message, confirmed to CNN Business that Drummond served on its board from 2012 to 2018 and is longer on its board. It did not respond to a request for further comment.