Anyone wondering if Alphabet might reprimand its chief legal officer, David Drummond, for a long-ago extramarital, inter-office affair that continues to be a distraction to the company, the answer seems to be . . . not right now. Though a former subordinate outlined in greater detail than ever yesterday the “hell” she says she has endured in the years since her break-up with Drummond, including a custody battle for their son that she won, Google said today it is not sharing a statement on the matter.
Instead, we were pointed by Google to the personal statement that Drummond issued this afternoon, wherein he acknowledges the affair with Jennifer Blakely, a former senior contracts manager with the company during a time when Drummond was Google’s general counsel.
As BuzzFeed notes, he doesn’t apologize to Blakely, saying instead of their “difficult break-up 10 years ago” that “I am far from perfect and I regret my part in that.” He also emphasizes that there are “two sides to all of the conversations and details Jennifer recounts,” saying that he takes a “very different view about what happened.”
Drummond’s full statement:
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.
Her account raises many claims about us and other people, including our son and my former wife. 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. I have discussed these claims directly with Jennifer, and I addressed the details of our relationship with our employer at the time.
But I do want to address one claim that touches on professional matters. Other than Jennifer, I never started a relationship with anyone else who was working at Google or Alphabet. Any suggestion otherwise is simply untrue.
I know Jennifer feels wronged and understand that she wants to speak out about it. But I won’t be getting into a public back and forth about these personal matters.”
Drummond is presumably hoping that by acknowledging Blakely’s post, the affair will recede again into the background, and it might. Drummond has enjoyed the support of the company for the last 17 years, even while Google officially recognized the affair back in 2007.
On the other hand, other powerful people who’ve come under scrutiny for their decision-making have discovered they have less control over a situation than they imagined. While Alphabet isn’t a democracy, Google employees have shown they’re willing to flex their muscle if need be to force change on the company, and Blakely’s account has seemingly infuriated anew many who say the company’s culture has always been, and continues to be discriminatory toward women.