Google canceled a planned companywide meeting about diversity because it said right-wing websites published the names of employees who proposed questions, putting their safety in jeopardy.

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai wrote in an email to employees obtained by the Wall Street Journal that the company canceled the meeting scheduled for Thursday after employees expressed concerns "about their safety and worried they may be ‘outed' publicly for asking a question in the Town Hall."

Pichai scheduled the meeting after he fired an employee Monday who wrote an internal memo critical of Google's diversity policy.

James Damore, a Google engineer who wrote the note that went viral last weekend, accused the company of quashing conservative political opinions and claimed biological differences explain a lack of women in tech and leadership positions.

Conservatives criticized Google's decision as an overly sensitive crackdown on free speech and said the move reflected an insular Silicon Valley culture.