Check out this report on a Google contractor who claims he was fired for exposing sectarian activity

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Google is known for its tight-knit — and sometimes secretive — corporate culture, but you wouldn’t suspect a real cult running things behind the scenes. Well, a Google contractor says that’s exactly the case, as detailed in this unusual report from The New York Times.

Kevin Lloyd, a contractor hired to work as a video producer for Google Developer Studio (GDS), alleges that at least 12 members of an obscure religious cult work for GDS and wield an inappropriate level of influence over the environment of work. Lloyd claims he was wrongfully fired for speaking out against the group’s behavior and has filed a lawsuit against Google and its contracting agency ASG for wrongful termination, retaliation, emotional distress and failure to protect him from discrimination.

The religious group in question is known as the Fellowship of Friends. According to Time, the Fellowship “believes that a higher consciousness can be achieved by embracing fine art and culture” and has a 1,200-acre resort in Oregon House, California. The group even became the object of an investigative Spotify podcast who promises to reveal his “dark secrets”.

Long-time Fellowship member Peter Lubbers leads the GDS and has engaged a number of other Fellowship members, including video producer Gabe Pannell, Time Remarks.

But things get even stranger than that – the TimeThe report says Fellowship members hold roles at Google company events, “working at registration desks, taking photos, playing music, providing massages and serving wine.” Google also allegedly purchased the wine served at these events from a winery run by a Fellowship member. Additionally, Lloyd’s lawsuit claims that Google paid for a “state-of-the-art audio system installed in the Oregon House of a Fellowship member who worked for the team as a sound designer.”

The Time says it has corroborated some of these claims after speaking with eight current and former Google employees, as well as reviewing publicly available documents, including a list of Fellowship members, event photos and spreadsheets documenting event budgets.

Another entrepreneur, Erik Johanson, told the Time that Google’s partnership with ASG has allowed the GDS team to onboard more Fellowship members, as contractors are hired “with much less scrutiny and a much less rigorous onboarding process”. The Alphabet Workers Union (AWU) also denounced potential abuse by managers of Google’s contract system. in a thread on Twitter.

Lloyd’s complaints about the church group’s presence are said to have been met with indifference – he claims he was fired without cause shortly after complaining. Google responded by refuting Lloyd’s claims of discrimination within the company and said he was fired for performance issues.

If you want to read the full story in more detail, it’s worth checking out the report by The New York Times. Lloyd also put the experience in his own words, which you can find in his article on Medium.

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