Tell Google to Stop Tarnishing Former German First Lady’s Reputation

Target: Google Inc.

Goal: Settle in a lawsuit brought by a former first lady of Germany asking for references to a history of life as a sex worker to be removed.

Former first lady of Germany Bettina Wulff recently filed a number of writs for defamation against several media platforms which have either participated in or been complicit in spreading rumors that she once worked as a prostitute. These rumors have dogged her heels since 2010, when her husband was first nominated for president, and they have redoubled since he was forced to resign amidst a corruption scandal last February. Mrs. Wulff has been consistent in denying such rumors since their inception, and insists all such claims are patently false. Even supposing they were not, this information should have no bearing on Wulff’s status as a professional woman deserving respect, or on her husband’s political career.

The portion of the lawsuit which targets Google specifically is aimed at preventing search terms such as “red-light past”, “prostitute”, or “escort” from appearing as search recommendations when someone searches “Bettina Wulff” on Google. A precedent for such a lawsuit exists, following a Japanese man’s successful suit earlier this year to stop Google’s autocomplete feature from linking his name with crimes he was innocent of. Several of the blogs and media organizations mentioned in the suit have already signed commitments to stop repeating the allegations.

The importance of Internet freedom does not mean that companies should be free from scrutiny when they participate in spreading patently false information. Encourage Google to settle this lawsuit and stop associating Mrs. Wulff’s name with allegations of sex work.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Google Inc.,

I write to you today regarding the suit which is currently being filed against you by former first lady of Germany Mrs. Bettina Wulff. The suit brought by Mrs. Wulff asks for both your organization and several other relevant media outlets to stop associating her name with references to the rumor that she once worked as a prostitute/escort, a rumor that Mrs. Wulff has steadfastly denied ever since it emerged when her husband was first running for president. Continuing to include words like “prostitute” and “escort” as related searches when “Bettina Wulff” is searched constitues assisting in the spread of false information. The importance of Internet freedom aside, this false association has a patently negative effect on Mrs. Wulff’s life and career, and cannot be continued in good conscience.

I urge you to settle Mrs. Wulff’s lawsuit peacefully and cease associating her name with terms related to a false history of sex work.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: fotopedia.com

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