CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again


Google requests refund from Cindy Hyde-Smith campaign after 'hanging' comments

The Mississippi Republican faces a Senate runoff election on Tuesday against Democrat Mike Espy.


Google headquarters in Mountain View, California

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Google has requested a refund of its $5,000 donation to the re-election campaign of Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.

The Mississippi Republican, who faces Democratic challenger Mike Espy in a runoff election Tuesday, came under fire earlier this month for comments she made in a video posted to Twitter. She's shown saying of a longtime supporter, "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row."

Google confirmed the request for the refund but declined to comment further. The website Public Information earlier Monday reported the news.

Hyde-Smith's office didn't respond to a request for comment.

Google said the donation was made before Hyde-Smith's remarks were made public, according to an internal Google email leaked to Public Information. "We do not condone the comments and would not have made the contribution had we known about them," the email reads.

The search giant is just the latest big corporation to ask the Hyde-Smith campaign to return funds. Major League Baseball, Walmart and Ernst & Young are reportedly among those that asked for refunds.

A  Walmart spokeswoman said in a statement that Hyde-Smith's comments "clearly do not reflect the values" of the company. "As a result, we are withdrawing our support and requesting a refund of all campaign donations."

Ernst & Young also confirmed its request for a refund. "The recent referenced comments by Senator Hyde-Smith are in direct conflict with our longstanding core values of respect, diversity and inclusion," a spokesman said in a statement.

MLB didn't respond to a request for comment.

During a debate last week with Espy, who would be Mississippi's first black senator since the Reconstruction era if elected, Hyde-Smith addressed her controversial remarks. 

"You know, for anyone that was offended by my comments, I certainly apologize. There was no ill will, no intent whatsoever in my statements," she said, according to The Washington Post. "I have worked with all Mississippians. It didn't matter their skin color type, their age or their income. That's my record."

President Donald Trump was on the trail campaigning for Hyde-Smith on Monday, the day before the runoff.

"I will be in Gulfport and Tupelo, Mississippi, on Monday night doing two Rallies for Senator Hyde-Smith, who has a very important Election on Tuesday," he tweeted Sunday.  "She is an outstanding person who is strong on the Border, Crime, Military, our great Vets, Healthcare & the 2nd A. Needed in D.C."

Update, 4:58 p.m. PT: Adds comment from Walmart.
Update, 5:23 p.m. PT: Adds comment from Ernst & Young.

CNET's Holiday Gift Guide: The place to find the best tech gifts for 2018.

CNET Magazine: Check out a sample of the stories in CNET's newsstand edition.