The campaign of Republican Georgia Sen. David Perdue removed a digital ad attacking Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff amid allegations of anti-Semitism after a report said it included an image that had been altered to make Ossoff’s nose bigger.
Ossoff, who is Jewish, claimed that the ad, which showed him and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., with the message, “Democrats are trying to buy Georgia!” played on anti-Jewish stereotypes. Schumer is also Jewish.
“Sitting U.S. Senator David Perdue’s digital attack ad distorted my face to enlarge and extend my nose,” Ossoff said in a statement. “I’m Jewish. This is the oldest, most obvious, least original anti-Semitic trope in history. Senator, literally no one believes your excuses. You can start with an unqualified apology to Georgia’s Jewish community.”
A report by Jewish news outlet The Forward based on the opinions of three graphic design experts said that the image had been altered to make Ossoff’s nose longer and wider, while keeping the rest of his face the same. The report featured comparisons of the original 2017 image and the one used in the ad.
Perdue’s campaign claimed it was nothing more than a technical error. A statement from a campaign spokesperson said that an “outside vendor” who did the graphic design used a filter on the image “which appears to have caused an unintentional error that distorted the image,” The Forward reported. The statement went on to say that to avoid confusion they removed the ad from Facebook.
The spokesperson then pushed back against claims of nefarious intent.
“Anybody who implies that this was anything other than an inadvertent error is intentionally misrepresenting Senator Perdue’s strong and consistent record of standing firmly against anti-Semitism and all forms of hate,” the statement said.
Miryam Lipper, Ossoff’s campaign communications director, rejected the explanation.
“Everyone in politics knows this was no technical error,” Lipper said in a statement. “Shady Facebook ads are where campaigns try to do their targeted dirty work. This is just old school anti-Semitism, trying to fly under the radar, disgraceful for a sitting senator, and David Perdue got caught in the act.”