New media and search engine giant Google celebrated Easter Sunday 2017 the same way it has celebrated Easter for years.
Not at all.
A.J. Delgado, writing at Mediaite, remarked on Google’s disinterest in Easter Sunday back in 2013.
Google’s homepage is known for its ‘Doodles‘ — temporary changes to its homepage logo to commemorate certain days. As defined by Google, its homepage changes are meant “to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists.”
But on Easter Sunday, a day celebrated by over one billion around the world and by the vast majority of Americans, Google’s homepage is mum on the holiday. Instead, Google chose to commemorate Big Labor icon Cesar Chavez. (In 2011, President Obama designated March 31 as Cesar Chavez day.)
Google’s official position over the Easter Sunday-Cesar Chavez controversy in 2013 was “it’s difficult for us to choose,” as the Washington Post reported at the time.
Among the holidays the company regularly celebrates with Google Doodles, other than Easter Sunday, are Earth Day, Martin Luther King Day, Lunar New Year, Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
The first Google Doodle, celebrating the annual Burning Man event, appeared in 1998.
Since then, dozens of Google Doodles have appeared on the famous search engine every year.
In 2014, this animated Google Doddle celebrating the New Year appeared.
Last year, Google honored a “Bin Laden Supporter with [a] Google Doodle,” as The Daily Caller reported:
Yuri Kochiyama was a Japanese-American who was placed in an internment camp as a young adult during World War II and went on to a lengthy career as an activist. Kochiyama died in 2014, but Thursday’s Google Doodle honors her on what would have been her 95th birthday.
“It’s with great pleasure that Google celebrates Yuri Kochiyama, an Asian American activist who dedicated her life to the fight for human rights and against racism and injustice,” Google’s webpage for Thursday’s Doodle says.
This short summary substantially whitewashes Kochiyama’s career, though. Besides campaigning for reparations to interned Japanese-Americans (which were granted in 1988), Kochiyama’s career included frequent support for Communist revolution, black separatism, and anti-American terrorism.
“A convert to Islam, after 9/11 Kochiyama was deeply critical of the U.S. war on terrorism and offered strong praise for Osama bin Laden. In a 2003 interview, she described bin Laden as a leader she admired, alongside Fidel Castro, Malcolm X, and Che Guevara,” the Daily Caller reported:
“I thank Islam for bin Laden,” she said. “America’s greed, aggressiveness, and self-righteous arrogance must be stopped.” She argued that America’s goal in the war on terrorism was “taking over the world.”
A United States Senator soon called on Google to apologize for the Kochiyama Doodle.
“Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is criticizing Google for featuring a tribute to a controversial civil rights activist on its home page Thursday,” The Hill reported last year:
Toomey sent a letter to Google CEO Larry Page asking the company to apologize for featuring a sketch of Yuri Kochiyama as its Google “doodle,” a version of the company logo that changes daily to celebrate big moments or people in history.
Toomey took particular umbrage with Kochiyama’s advocacy for Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of killing Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1982. Abu-Jamal was originally sentenced to death before the sentence was vacated years later.
“While Google has the legal right to pay tribute to whomever it pleases, I believe the company should exercise more discretion and better judgement in the future and apologize to those that the tribute to Ms. Kochiyama offended,” Toomey wrote in the letter.
“Google would not comment on the record about Toomey’s letter, but it unveiled the sketch Thursday with ‘great pleasure,'” The Hill reported.
“Kochiyama left a legacy of advocacy: for peace, U.S. political prisoners, nuclear disarmament, and reparations for Japanese Americans interned during the war. She was known for her tireless intensity and compassion, and remained committed to speaking out, consciousness-raising, and taking action until her death in 2014,” Google said in a statement reported by The Hill.