BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — While the Bay Area’s tech boom has sparked protests over rising rents and tech company shuttles, a group of demonstrators took things a step further by protesting outside a prominent Google engineer’s home.
On Tuesday morning, a group calling itself “The Counterforce” targeted Anthony Levandowski in front of his home in Berkeley. Levandowski is part of Google X, the tech giant’s semi-secret experimental lab. He also played a major role in the company’s self-driving cars.
According to witnesses, the protesters surrounded the employee’s home with banners and watched him leave. The protest lasted for 45 minutes.
Afterwards, the group leafleted Levandowski’s neighborhood with fliers that identified where he lives and accusing him of bringing evil into the world.
Levandowski declined to talk on camera Wednesday, but he told KPIX 5 that he’s a nice guy, an engineer who likes robots. He said he was surprised by the protest, but did not feel that his safety has been compromised.
Becky O’Malley, a neighbor of Levandowski, was more vocal. “This is stalking,” she said.
While Berkeley is a bastion of grassroots activism, O’Malley said what the group did crosses the line. “There is absolutely no reason to go after people in their home, no matter what you think of their job or their politics,” O’Malley said.
KPIX 5 reached out to Google Wednesday, but they had no comment.