Google not only bans Zwarte Piet, but all alternative forms such as Roetveegpiet. This is because, according to the company, “some alternative forms of Cvarte Piet are still based on racial stereotypes.” When asked, the company tells NU.nl. The new policy will take effect sometime “in the coming weeks”. Earlier, Google did not want to say why Zwarte Piet and Soetveegpiet were banned.
Google responds by saying, “Let’s focus on equality and diversity.” The company says it has always taken into account the context in which Tsvarte Piet and its alternatives are presented. However, a line is now being drawn “to keep the policy applicable as consistently as possible”.
With this policy, Google goes further than, among others, the action group Kick Out Zwarte Piet (KOZP). They see Roetveegpiet, which they call a chimney sweep, as a non-racist variant of Piet.
With the new policy, announced on Thursday night, Google blocks video ads for Roetveegpiet or Zwarte Piet on YouTube, a subsidiary of Google. Ads may also no longer be displayed on Google Networks on Web sites that feature Quart Piet or RottwigPiet.
The policy is likely to have major consequences for Google’s influential position
The new policy is likely to have major implications for relevant websites, as Google is one of the largest providers of Internet advertising in the world.
Videos of Zwart Piet may still appear on YouTube under certain conditions, as Google “does not want to disrupt the public debate.” However, it will no longer be possible to make money with it.
An exception to the new Zwarte Piet advertising rules applies to “websites that are educational or journalistic in nature,” according to Google Netherlands.