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James Damore, the Google engineer who penned an anti-diversity manifesto that has shaken Silicon Valley, is seeking ‘legal remedies’ after his firing.
USA TODAY

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Google on Thursday abruptly canceled a town hall meeting to address the fallout from an anti-diversity memo, but CEO Sundar Pichai made his feelings on the matter known Thursday night at an event honoring girl coders from around the world.

“I want you know that that there’s place for you in this industry, there’s a place for you at Google. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You belong here and we need you,” he told the coding teams who were being honored at the Technovation awards ceremony at Google’s campus here.

The 12 finalist teams, all made up of young women who developed apps to solve challenges in their communities, cames from Hong Kong, Kazhakstan, Cambodia, India, Armenia, Kenya, Canada and across the United States.

“I know the journey won’t always be easy,” he said, then continued, saying he hoped this was the beginning of long careers in tech for each of them, building things people around the world would use every day.

When he said they belonged in tech and, “don’t let anyone tell you otherwise,” the crowd burst into cheers, with the loudest coming from Google staffers who were helping host the outdoor event. 

“At Google, we are very committed to building products for everyone in the world, and I think to do that well, we really need to have people internally who represent the world in totality. So it’s really important that more women and girls have the opportunity to participate in tech to learn how to code create and innovated,” he told the families in a short speech at the beginning of the festivities 

The speech has been his sole public comment on the ongoing issue of former Google engineerJames Damore’s memo questioning the company’s efforts to bring more women into technology.

Pichai fired Damore on Monday for what he said was a violation of Google’s policies, because his manifesto advanced “harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

The meeting Thursday was to have allowed staff to ask questions about the firing and the concerns it has raised. But minutes before it was supposed to start, Pichai said in an email to Googlers it had been scotched due to concern about online harassment of employees whose names and questions were published on alt-right websites.

“Googlers are writing…