Google will be the official live stream provider at the Republican National Convention, the company confirmed to Politico this week. The search giant will also provide virtual reality tools and real-time data on election trends during the GOP convention, though rights groups have called on the company to withdraw from the event due to the "hateful rhetoric" of frontrunner Donald Trump.
Activists have organized protests and petitions urging Google, Microsoft, and other companies to not sponsor the convention, which will be held this July in Cleveland. Coca-Cola has already said it will give less to the GOP convention than it did in 2012, and other companies are reportedly reconsidering their sponsorship, as well. In campaign speeches and media appearances, Trump has repeatedly promoted policies and beliefs that have alienated women, Muslims, immigrants, and minorities.
Google and other companies are under pressure
Google has not staked out a position on any candidate or party in the 2016 presidential race, but civil rights groups behind the protest, like CREDO Action and Color of Change, say any sponsorship would help "legitimize and normalize" Trump's divisive rhetoric. The groups have organized an online petition calling for Google to withdraw from the event, and a plane flying over Google's Mountain View, CA headquarters this week carried a banner that read: "Google: Don't be evil. #DumpTrump." Dozens of protesters gathered outside Google's campus yesterday as well, Recode reports.
Google has said it is a neutral partner in the event, and the company has provided similar services during televised debates. In 2012, Google donated at least $350,000 to the Republican convention, according to election records, though the company did not tell Politico whether it has made any donations to this year's event.
"We want Google to pull all of their support for a Trump-led Republican national convention," Mary Alice Crim, field director for Free Press Action Fund, one of the groups backing the protests, tells Politico. "We’re asking for that to be immediate, and we do hope after today’s petition delivery [the company] will talk with us."