July 28, 2020
The shape of Democrat Jon Ossoff’s nose became an issue in late July, when incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue’s campaign posted a Facebook ad in which Ossoff’s nose appeared to have been altered.
The ad had been placed three separate times during the month, according to Facebook’s ad library, before it was withdrawn July 27. Titled “Democrats are trying to buy Georgia,” the ad used black-and-white photos of Ossoff and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who also is Jewish.
The Forward reported that three graphic designers it consulted determined that a photo of Ossoff, taken in 2017 by the Reuters news agency, had been “changed by having his nose lengthened and widened, even as other parts of his face stayed the same size and proportions.”
During a July 28 news conference, Ossoff decried “the digital attack ad . . . that was manipulated to enlarge and extend my nose, in what is one of the most classic anti-Semitic tropes in history.”
Images that distort the size and shape of noses, to depict Jews as being outsiders and evil, date to the late 13th century B.C.E., and were used by the Nazis in the 1930s and ’40s and more recently by white supremacists and other anti-Jewish bigots.
Perdue’s campaign manager, Ben Fry, said in a July 28 statement: “In light of an unfortunate and inadvertent error involving one of our Facebook advertisements produced and placed by an outside vendor, our campaign will be making a change to a new digital fundraising company. Senator Perdue did not know about nor see the ad before it ran, and he is committed to ensuring future mistakes of this kind do not occur.”
The Perdue ad was criticized by the Atlanta regional offices of the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League.
Ossoff has continued to talk about the ad on the campaign trail. During a Dec. 8 videoconference organized by a Jewish Democratic group, he said, “Did David Perdue run an anti-Semitic attack ad in which he lengthened my nose? Yes, he did. Was it disgusting? Yes, it was. Has he apologized for it? No, he hasn’t,” Ossoff said.