Google is not only banning Zwarte Piet, but also all alternative forms such as Roetveegpiet. According to the company, some alternative forms of Zwarte Piet are “still based on racial stereotypes”. The new policy will take effect sometime in “the coming weeks”, the company tells Press when asked. Previously, Google did not want to say why both Zwarte Piet and Soetveegpiet are banned.
Policy is likely to have major consequences due to Google’s influential position
Google says it is “committed to equality and diversity”. The company says it has always taken into account the context in which Zwarte Piet and its alternatives are depicted. Nevertheless, a line is now being drawn, “to keep the policy applicable as consistently as possible”.
With this policy, Google goes further than, among other things, the Kick Out Zwarte Piet action group (KOZP). He sees Roetveegpiet, which she refers to as Chimney Piet, as a non-racist variant of Piet.
With the new policy, which was announced Tuesday evening, Google blocks ads for videos about Roetveegpiet or Zwarte Piet on YouTube, a subsidiary of Google. Also, on web pages where Zwarte Piet or Roetveegpiet can be seen, advertisements may no longer be shown via the Google networks.
The new policy is likely to have major implications for the affected web pages, as Google is one of the largest providers of online advertising worldwide.
Videos of Zwarte Piet may still appear on YouTube under certain conditions, because Google “does not want to hinder the public debate”. However, it will no longer be possible to make money with it.
An exception to the new advertising rules for Zwarte Piet applies to “web pages that are educational or journalistic in nature”, according to Google Netherlands.