Pichai called off the meeting 30 minutes before its scheduled start because staff were anxious they'd be "outed" for asking a question.
James Damore, a software engineer at Google, was sacked this week after he circulated a controversial anti-diversity memo. A group of more than 60 women is reportedly considering suing Google over gender discrimination, sexism, and the very pay gap they experience when compared to male coworkers in the same roles.
The public appearance by Pichai also came just after Google cancelled a company-wide town hall meeting, which had been scheduled to address some of the fallout from the memo.
Damore said in the Bloomberg interview he was "hurt" by the firing.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Google has abruptly canceled a company-wide meeting, scheduled for Thursday afternoon, that was meant to address employee questions about the company's diversity policies.
"There was a lot of just shaming". "That's sexist. You can't do this", he said. According to ZeroHedge, one popular question was how the company plans to protect female employees who face online harassment for criticizing the memo, while another seeks to learn if Google lowers the bar for diverse candidates.
Milo Yiannopoulos, an alt-right commentator, posted images on Facebook on Wednesday taken from social media profiles of several people who identified as working for Google.
Pichai said there will be more chances for employees to meet with him and express their concerns.
"We had hoped to have a frank open discussion today as we always do to bring us together and move forward".
In an email seen by Reuters on Thursday, Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said some company employees were being named personally on websites in relation to the incident.
In a memo to staff on Thursday a half-hour before the meeting was to start, CEO Sundar Pichai announced that they had canceled it, saying, "Googlers are writing in, concerned about their safety and anxious they may be "outed" publicly for asking a question in the Town Hall".
"I think to do that well we really need to have people internally who represent the world in totality". I think as Google we are really proud to host the event, but I really want to thank ... the organizers and the mentors who spent hundreds of hours to get the teams ready for today.
Speaking at a Made With Code event specifically targeted at girls, CEO Sundar Pichai told the audience: "I want you to know there's a place for you in this industry, there's a place for you at Google".