In a strange and unexplained course of actions, tech giant Google banned and then reinstated an innocuous ad by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), drawing ire both from Donald Trump, Jr., and from two U.S. Congressmen.
The President’s son accused Google of “kowtowing to leftwingers” and “blacklisting hunters” when the company removed an ad from the Montana-based conservation group.
Oh look, now @Google is kowtowing to leftwingers & blacklisting hunters from advertising on their platform.
But we’re really supposed to believe that Big Tech isn’t biased? 🙄🙄🙄
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) May 4, 2019
Trump, Jr., also posted a letter from Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Greg Gianforte, Montana Republicans who reached out to Google CEO Sundar Pichai after hearing about his company’s decision to ban RMEF’s ad.
“We are not only deeply concerned with this prohibition, but believe that it is a troubling precedent for the exclusion of an important part of our national identity,” the lawmakers wrote. “Google should immediately change this policy interpretation to uphold our hunting and conservation heritage,” they continued, while also requesting a meeting with the executive.
The incident began when a Google representative told the RMEF that their promotional video had been banned because Google considers any advertisement that promotes hunting “animal cruelty.”
SEE ALSO: Turkey Hunting: What’s In Your Pack?
“Post receiving your email, I checked the account and the ad and found that it is correctly disapproved for the policy,” the representative said in an email posted by the congressmen. “Chad, allow me to explain that basis Google guidelines, any promotions about hunting practices, even when they are intended as a healthy method of population control and/or conservation, is considered animal cruelty and deemed inappropriate to be shown on our network.”
RMEF Communications Director Mark Holyoak told GunsAmerica that they were surprised to receive the email from Google since “we’ve been pushing out the same kind of content that promotes ethical hunting for years.”
Holyoak said he’s not sure why Google decided to target this particular promotional video, but once they received the notice from Google, they immediately reached out to their state’s congressional delegation.
Google has since refuted their own representative and reversed course, claiming that their policy has never banned hunting promotions.
“Google doesn’t have a policy prohibiting hunting ads. We do have a policy against ads that promote animal cruelty or feature gratuitous violence towards animals. In this case, we made a mistake and the ad is now approved to run,” a Google spokesperson told Montana’s KULR-8, the outlet reported.
But this isn’t the first time Google has banned an ad simply because it features a positive view of hunting.
As we reported earlier this year, Google took down an a promotion by Theodore Dziuba, a Republican running for the state Senate in California’s first district.
Dziuba ran an advertisement on Google that included the word “gun” and linked to the campaign website, which included a picture of Dziuba holding a wild turkey he had legally taken on private property with a Remington 870 20-gauge shotgun.
Unlike the RMEF, however, Dziuba couldn’t reach a Google representative or get U.S. Congressmen to go to bat for him. The tech company maintained their decision, and his ad was never reinstated.
Whether Google made an honest mistake in RMEF’s case or caved to public pressure is anyone’s guess. Hopefully, moving forward, the tech giant will more consistently enforce their policy and stop targeting lawful hunters and conservation groups trying to raise awareness for their businesses and organizations.
You can watch the previously banned video below: