At a congressional hearing on Wednesday, Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte blasted Google for rejecting hunting advertisements. Gianforte described how the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation reached out to his office after Google denied one of its paid advertisements, a video about a father and daughter hunting.

“The foundation received an email from google and I quote, ‘Any promotions about hunting practices, even when they are intended as a healthy method of population control or conservation, is considered animal cruelty and deemed inappropriate to be shown on our network.’”

Gianforte sent a letter to google the day he heard about this situation and google was very responsive, but he said the initial position taken was absurd.

“Hunting is a way of life in Montana and many parts of the country,” Gianforte said. “I am very thankful you worked quickly to reverse that, but I remain very concerned about Google’s effort to stifle the promotion of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundations and how they were treated. I worry that other similar groups have faced similar efforts to shut down their advocacy. We really don’t know how many hunting ads Google has blocked in the last five years.”

In March, Gianforte invited Google’s CEO to meet with leaders of outdoor recreation businesses in Montana, but he hasn’t heard anything back.

“I think frankly it would help Google to get out of Silicon Valley, come to Montana, sit down with some of your customers, and hear from them directly about the things that are important to them,” Gianforte said. “I would be happy to host that visit and we would love to meet with you there. I think it is important to understand the work these groups do to further conservation and to help species thrive.”

There are several businesses in Montana that focus on hunting and fishing. Gianforte is worried that those businesses are being denied the opportunity to advertise on one of the largest online platforms in the world.

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