A column from controversial UK media commentator Piers Morgan on the Daily Mail has been stripped of advertising, after Google detected racist content in the comments.
Earlier this week, Morgan penned a column titled ‘Sorry Simone Biles, but there’s nothing heroic or brave about quitting because you’re not having ‘fun’ – you let down your team-mates, your fans and your country’.
The article criticised US gymnast Simone Biles for pulling out of a number of events at the Tokyo 2020 games, citing concerns for her own mental health.
“The world’s greatest ever gymnast, a woman who proudly told me how she fought back after making big mistakes to win Gold, just gave up at the first hurdle of these Olympics,” Morgan wrote.
“She left her team to fight on without their leader and supreme motivational champion, and rather than win the Gold medal they were hot favourites to win, they came second to the Russians.”
Shortly after the article was published last week, Morgan revealed – in another column for the Mail – that his Simone Biles piece had effectively been demonetised by Google.
Morgan claimed Google had “put an advertising block on my column eight hours after it was posted”.
*NEW: How Google banned all advertising around my column criticising Simone Biles – a story that should horrify every journalist who cares about free speech.
My column: https://t.co/7jaHHCji91 pic.twitter.com/9g97p8Uymc
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) August 3, 2021
The media commentator – who recently quit as host of Good Morning Britain – claimed Google had told him the article contained policy violations and contained “dangerous or derogatory content”.
He described it as a “draconian blanket ban”.
However, it has since been revealed that the decision to block ads on the column was not so much about what Morgan had written, rather the comments the piece had attracted from the public.
“Our systems detected racist content in the comments under a recent Mail Online article from Piers Morgan so we blocked ads from showing against the article in accordance with our policies,” a Google spokesperson told Press Gazette.
“The article remains on Mail Online, but advertisers using our ad tech will not see their ads running alongside it while those comments remain.”
Google said the Mail can apply to have ads reinstated to the article, once the problematic content is removed.
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