It might be assumed that when a billionaire running a $1.5 trillion California-headquartered company â vital to the global economy â testifies on Capitol Hill, senators will pronounced his name correctly.
Sundar Pichai, the Indian American CEO of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, joined fellow chief executives Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Jack Dorsey of Twitter by video chat on Wednesday to discuss hate speech, disinformation, and content moderation, just five days to go before the US election.
A panel of both Democrat and Republican senators questioned the three tech moguls about issues of concern regarding their various online platforms â and yet repeatedly mispronounced Mr Pichaiâs name. This is his third appearance before Congress.
Born in Chennai, India, Mr Pichaiâs name is pronounced âpeaâ as in the vegetable, and âchaiâ as in the beverage.
Despite there even being YouTube videos explaining how to pronounce his name, senators apparently struggled with the two syllables, variously referring to him as âMr Pick-Eyeâ or âMr Pee-Chayâ.
Chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Senator Roger Wicker went with âPick-Eyeâ in his opening remarks.
Any Klobuchar also muffs Pichai’s name, but immediately corrects herself, and gets it right the second time. Follows up by saying Google’s response to DOJ is “offensive” and “defiant.”
— nilay patel (@reckless) October 28, 2020
Colorado Senator Cory Gardner was the second to mispronounce the name of the CEO.
Senator Amy Klobuchar tried âPee-Chayâ before getting the correct pronunciation on her second attempt.
How can we trust Senators who can’t even pronounce the name of Google’s CEO?
There is literally an H in Sundar Pichai’s name.
— Geoffrey A. Fowler (@geoffreyfowler) October 28, 2020
Unfortunately, after that senators Maria Cantwell, Marsha Blackburn, and Mike Lee all reverted to âPick-Eyeâ, perhaps taking the lead from Chairman Wicker.
It's kind of awful how many Senators mispronounce Sundar Pichai's name. There are only 3 panelists. These Senators could learn his name before asking him questions.
— Mike Masnick (@mmasnick) October 28, 2020
Given the subject matter of the hearing, social media users were paying close attention and expressed displeasure and disbelief that no one had even thought to check the pronunciation of the name of one of the most important figures in his field.
Someone please send this video to every senator that refuses to properly pronounce Sundar Pichai's name. It's so disrespectful. https://t.co/orJcap49jq
— Justin Duino+ 💻 (@jaduino) October 28, 2020
There were, after all, only three panellists.
A quick google produces several YouTube videos explaining the correct pronunciation.