The North Carolina Republican lawmaker, whose Google results Friday yielded a photo of her with the word “bigot” across the bottom, fired back on Saturday, saying the tech company’s apology “rang a bit hollow.”
State Sen. Trudy Wade released a statement on her website Saturday about the “Google firestorm,” saying that while “I appreciate Google’s belated apology, if I’m being completely honest it rang a bit hollow.”
The controversial image that appeared on the right side of the page, reported by Vice News, showed the word “bigot” written in capital red letters under Wade’s headshot. The image result was later removed, as a search of Wade’s name only provided her website, some brief background information and her party affiliation.
Wade in the statement said that after the controversial photo was discovered, an aide asked Google to remove the photo. “She was told to find and contact the original author of the photo, and the post stayed up,” the lawmaker explained.
Wade claimed that “only after Drudge Report posted it to a national audience and it began to go viral on social media did Google do the right thing.”
Google Communications’ tweeted last night, in response to Vice News’ story, apologizing to Wade and adding that “Images that appear in the Knowledge Panel are either selected by verified users or are automatically sourced from sites across the web.”
“In this instance, the image was hosted on a student news blog. Upon being alerted to this issue, we immediately removed it from the Knowledge Panel,” the company continued. “We encourage individuals with a Knowledge Panel to get verified to select their own image, which can help prevent this in the future. To get verified, click the link below your Knowledge Panel.”
A Google spokesperson told Fox News on Friday that when they are notified about problems such as Wade’s, they “move quickly to fix the problem, as we did in this case.”
The company added that in this instance, Wade’s panel was not verified and Google did not have a request for the action.
Google did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on Saturday.
Wade represents North Carolina’s 27th district and has held the office since 2013, according to her website.
The state lawmaker said Saturday that Google’s alleged response was “disconcerting” considering a similar issue they’d had only a day before.
On Thursday, an error in Google’s search results listed “Nazism” as the ideology of the California Republican Party. The error, which was first spotted by political strategist Eric Wilson, listed “Nazism” alongside other ideologies such as “Conservatism,” “Market liberalism,” “Fiscal conservatism,” and “Green conservatism.”
The error was later fixed. A Google spokesperson told Fox News that it was likely the result of vandalism on one of its sources.
In her statement, Wade said “yesterday’s treatment of a conservative is nothing new. Not even close,” adding that she thinks this behavior “has become so common and fashionable” because of “the staggering bias of the news media.”
“The ‘mainstream’ press – where many of us once looked for truth and reliable reporting – have become cesspools of elitism and intolerance, and the troubling lack of ideological diversity in newsroom across the country has sown seeds of hatred for years against conservatives – maybe especially against conservative women,” Wade said. “It’s culminated in an unhinged assault on President Trump and anyone who dares to support him publicly. I guess it’s not terribly surprising that the liberal groupthink has started to permeate America’s corporations, too.”
Fox News Chris Ciaccia contributed to this report.