Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California is demanding answers from Google over allegations that the search engine was mishandling searches for Dinesh D’Souza’s new movie “America,” possibly because of ideological differences.
“America” had a wide release on July 2, but the filmmakers allege users looking for showtimes and theaters were directed to the wrong movie, provided different images from the movie’s poster or received a wrong description of the film.
Rohrabacher told The Hollywood Reporter he plans to bring the issue to the House Republican Conference on Wednesday.
“This doesn’t deserve to be ignored,” he told the website. “We need to verify the statistics in some way, and I will be suggesting the appropriate committee or subcommittee have some kind of hearing on this. We know there were significant incidences, and that would suggest there was intent behind Google’s nonperformance.”
The filmmakers of the movie allege that many of their initial complaints were ignored before lawyers sent a letter wanting to know if it was a technical problem or human caused.
Google admitted there was a problem and said it would take some time to fix, but Rohrabacher, the vice chairman of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, remained suspicious.
“This level of inefficiency on the part of Google is not their norm,” he said. “It’s been established that if they have a problem, they fix it. This should have been fixed in a matter of hours. These guys are pros.”
Rohrabacher has had run-ins with Google before, including calling the company the “Google Goliath Gang” and accusing them of undermining the patent system. He’s also alleged the company has a liberal bias.
“I’m not threatening to shut them down, but shining a spotlight on a corporation that is acting in an abusive way can have as great an impact as legislation or regulation,” Rohrabacher said. “If Google isn’t informing the public about movies they disagree with, then that needs to be exposed.”