For the past week, the number one picture of Michelle Obama on Google searches has been a photoshoped picture of her face and that of a chimpanzee.
According to news reports: “Google had refused to remove the image from its picture search listings, despite complaints that it was racist, instead opting to run an ad next to it explaining its policy on how search engine results work. In a statement in the advert, the company said its results “can include disturbing content, even from innocuous queries.”
Google issued the apology after the picture was tracked down to a blog the company hosts. The blogger in question has issued an apology as well for the work.
As a gay man, and Jewish, I tend to sometimes be oversensitive to anything that is potentially racist. However, I do respect satirists, comedians, and humorists to sometimes cross that line that may offend me. Sometimes I do laugh, more often I don’t.
I’m not sure if Google needed to apologize. I am now worried the precedent that this could set. I don’t agree with the content of the picture, (I’ve seen it but will not post it here. It is easy to find) but I have to respect that someone wanted to create it.
The idea is deplorable, but sadly, if this is a free society, we must let the stupid, ignorant bastards who think it up, put it out there.