If you didn’t know better, you might think this New Hampshire town is best known for gun-toting wedding parties. A Google search for the town of Londonderry has repeatedly turned up a wedding photo of resident and Republican state Rep. Al Baldasaro with five women, including the bride, posing with rifles while wearing their wedding attire. Town Manager Kevin Smith said the photo appeared earlier this year, prompting the town to send a letter in February to Google asking for it to be removed.
That seemed to do the trick but then the photo resurfaced again this week, prompting the town to reach out to Google again. The latest image was a near-duplicate of the one that was removed earlier this year, and was posted on a different page. This new image was pulled into Google’s Knowledge Panel algorithmically.
By Tuesday afternoon, the wedding photo had been replaced by a town map. Rather than a family wedding photo, Smith would prefer the town get noticed for its apple orchards, accomplished high school band that has marched in four Tournament of Roses parades, or its status as home to Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.
“It’s not that we take great exception with the photo. It’s that we don’t think that it’s representative of the town,” Smith said. “Well, we think there are so many other images that represent the town more fairly, and we have named then in the letters we have sent to Google.” In its letter to Google, the town’s attorney claimed critics of Baldasaro raised the profile of the photo by sharing it numerous times on social media, hoping it would have been deemed embarrassing enough to help defeat Baldasaro last November.
Google confirmed the image had been removed. Baldasaro, who won re-election and was an early supporter of President Donald Trump, said he agrees the photo should not represent the town. He said his wife, Judy, had written to Google on Monday night to request that it decouple the photo from the town’s biographical information.
“My picture has no business being up there,” he said Tuesday. “But I’ve got no control over it. I just found out yesterday it was up there again.” But he insisted there was nothing inherently wrong with the photo — which he says was his wife’s idea and was taken as a joke after a fellow legislator showed up at his wedding with his guns. “I have no regrets whatsoever. I only wish I could take credit for it,” he said. “I love the picture. I don’t care if anyone doesn’t like it. Tough. They’ll get over it. The second Amendment is a beautiful thing.”