POLITICS

Progressive Groups Ratchet Up Pressure On Google To Dump The GOP Convention

The company’s motto is “Don’t be evil,” but they are sponsoring the coronation of Donald Trump.

05/05/2016 04:26 pm ET
CREDO Action
Activists protest at Google's headquarters on April 28. Progressive groups are stepping up pressure on Google to cancel its sponsorship of the Republican convention live stream.

National progressive organizations are ramping up efforts to get Google to drop its sponsorship of the Republican National Convention’s video live stream, claiming it amounts to an implicit endorsement of Donald Trump’s bigoted rhetoric and views.

CREDO Action, the activism arm of the progressive wireless phone company, released a video on Thursday challenging Google’s financial support for the convention.

The nearly two-minute-long video -- entitled “Why is Google sponsoring hate?” -- features an image of the Google homepage as someone searches racist tactics used by Donald Trump, such as “scapegoating immigrants” and “anti-Muslim hysteria.” It then cuts to footage of Trump employing the inflammatory tactic shown on screen, including his infamous remarks calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “criminals,” and his announcement of a proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States.

"It isn't too late for Google to do the right thing," the video concludes in text on the screen. "Tell Google: Don't sponsor hate. #DumpTrump."

CREDO blasted the video to 360,000 of its members in an email. A subset of emails sent to several thousand members every day for several weeks will include a request that they call Google senior employees to ask them to withdraw from the agreement to provide the live stream. (CREDO confirmed that it has the office phone numbers of dozens of Google staff members.)

CREDO has also purchased Facebook ads featuring the video that are targeted at some 10,000 Google employees in the San Francisco Bay and Washington, D.C., areas.

CREDO Action
CREDO Action is targeting Google employees with this Facebook ad.

CREDO Action’s Heidi Hess, who is leading the new campaign to pressure Google, said that in the event that Trump begins to tone down his rhetoric as part of a general election strategy, the organization does not want corporations to excuse their ties to a Trump-led Republican party by claiming he never meant what he said.

“The goal of the video is to make really clear to Google and to other corporations that are still considering whether or not to support the Republican National Convention, that when they support the convention, they are buying Trump’s platform along with the political access they are trying to buy,” Hess said.

UltraViolet
UltraViolet is encouraging Internet users to mock Google's sponsorship of the Republican national convention.

UltraViolet Action, an online women’s rights group, is taking a more tongue-in-cheek approach to pressuring the tech giant. The group announced on Monday that it was debuting a “Big Wig. Tiny Hands.” extension for Google Chrome. The extension, available for download at tinyhands.io, allows users to attach an image of Donald Trump’s hair to the Google logo on Google’s search engine homepage.

Riva Litman, a Google spokeswoman, said Google’s goal in providing the live stream is to make the convention “accessible to millions of people (via YouTube) that can't be there in person.”

Litman denied that the sponsorship represented any kind of an endorsement of Trump’s views, and noted that Google provided the same service for the conventions of both major parties in 2012. 

“This is a completely neutral, nonpartisan role -- and we aren't endorsing either party or candidate,” Litman said. “We're just there to provide access, information, and data.”

The company has not yet announced plans to provide the live stream for the Democratic national convention in Philadelphia, which will take place later in July after the GOP convention.

When you allegedly promote values of diversity and inclusion you are asking to be held to a higher standard. Heidi Hess, CREDO Action

But CREDO Action rejects the notion of neutrality in a convention headlined by a hate-monger like Trump.

“One of the major political parties has chosen to nominate a bigot,” Heidi Hess said. “It is not politics as usual. It is a real time for these companies to make a choice and decide what side of history they want to be on.”

The progressive groups' new initiatives follow a petition campaign started by Color of Change and joined by CREDO Action, UltraViolet Action and other groups demanding that Google, Coca-Cola, Xerox, AT&T, Adobe Systems, Cisco and other companies cancel their plans to sponsor a “Donald Trump-led” Republican national convention in Cleveland this July.

Activists from the organizations delivered more than 500,000 petition signatures to Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, last Thursday. As part of their action, a plane holding a banner with the message, “Google: Don’t be evil. #DumpTrump,” flew over Google headquarters and the San Francisco Bay. 

Notwithstanding the colorful protest and volume of petition signatures, Google announced that it had finalized its plans to provide the official live stream, and other associated services, for the convention.

CREDO Action
Progressive groups sponsored a banner flyover targeting Google on April 28. The message on the banner was: "Google: Don't be evil. #DumpTrump."

There are indications that other companies may be more responsive to the pressure, however. The New York Times reported on March 30 that Coca-Cola decided to donate $75,000 to the Republican national convention this year, down from its $660,000 donation to the GOP gathering in 2012. The company did not specify to the Times the reasons behind its decision, but the paper noted the Atlanta-based company’s investment in promoting its brand to communities of color. Color of Change’s version of the petition also featured Coca-Cola more prominently than any other corporation.

One reason Google’s backing for the Republican National Convention has become a focal point of CREDO Action and UltraViolet Action’s efforts is because of the ostensibly liberal, benevolent image Google promotes, embodied in its famous motto, “Don’t be evil.”

Google has a long history of ties to the Democratic Party, including an especially close relationship with the Obama White House.  

“When you allegedly promote values of diversity and inclusion you are asking to be held to a higher standard,” Hess said.

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

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