Axl Rose recently requested that Google take down the popular "fat memes" that bear his image, alleging that he owns those pictures and therefore has a right to how those pictures are accessed - if at all. I believe that Google should honor his request because the "fat memes" promote an unhealthy body-shaming culture.
This is the year 2016. The internet has been a vital part of our day to day lives for at least a decade now, if not longer. By now, most people understand (or should, anyway) that what goes on the internet stays on the internet. When you post information, photos, etc., they are put into cyberspace and there they will remain. I can fully appreciate the humiliation experienced by Axl Rose with his photos becoming fodder for the crude underbelly of the Internet, unfortunately, he needs to understand that while he may hold a copyright for his photos, and own them fully, requiring Google to track down each individual use and iteration of his photos is not only unreasonable, it's flat out impossible. Even if Google COULD remove every single embarrassing photo of Axl Rose that exists within its reach, there are other search engines that could house their own instances of the photos, not to mention every single individual user who may have downloaded and saved these photos, etc. Google was not liable for what happened when he uploaded a photo to the internet, and thereby should not be held responsible for removing it. If Axl Rose really feels the need to remove his photo from the Internet, the only way to effectively do so would be to file legal action against every single person who owns or has distributed one of the photos. That, naturally, would be an exhaustion of resources and still may not even accomplish the desired result.
There is a freedom of speech within this country and despite what a certain individual, in this case, W. Axl Rose, thinks, Google does not have a legal responsibility to take down the 'fat memes' that he is demanding be removed. Millions of people worldwide use Google and if the company were to remove them all, it would not only be a financial drain on both the company and the economy but it would also be a never ending job because with the way that the Internet works, as soon as one is taken down, three more go up. This would be a never-ending-cycle and would be futile to attempt to take them down. Celebrities in the public eye face a great amount of scrutiny but many of them do not draw attention to the fact that they have been lampooned or made into a satirical cartoon. One can't help but think that this might be a publicity stunt meant to garner more attention, rather than a personal offense.
As much as it has to hurt to see your own lyrics used in making a mockery of you, Google should not be pressured into taking down the Axl Rose fat memes. It's freedom of speech. If Google succumbs to this pressure, then where can the line be drawn? Can then any celebrity have the power to apply pressure to remove any graphic that they find offensive or tarnishes their image? In my option, if you sign up for a career in the world of fame, you are going to appear in the world of social media. Some days you'll like what you see, other days you won't. But that's what you signed up for. Perhaps Axl Rose can use the fat memes as a visual reminder to stick to baked potatoes (minus the sour cream) rather than baked pies:)