Amid fierce online criticism, advertisers are severing ties with Breitbart News, a far-right website formerly run by a top aide of President-elect Donald Trump.
Breitbart urged its readers Wednesday to boycott Kellogg's products after the company decided to pull its ads from the website earlier this week. The company was the latest to pull ads, as critics angered by what they call Breitbart’s racist, sexist and anti-Semitic content, publicly named its advertisers on social media.
Other companies have already said on Twitter that they also plan to stop advertising on Breitbart. They include pharmaceutical manufacturer Novo Nordisk, eyeglasses maker Warby Parker and the San Diego Zoo. And just weeks ago, AppNexus Inc., an online advertising company, blocked Breitbart News from using it’s tools after the company found Breitbart content in violation of AppNexus Inc.’s hate speech rules, Bloomberg reported.
But while #DumpKelloggs is a headache for the company, the practice of publicly calling out companies that consumers don't agree with is nothing new, according to Andrew Ricci, Vice President of LEVICK public affairs. He points to GrabYourWallet.org, which has a list of companies with Trump ties that Democrats should boycott.
“People have been using the concept of voting with their wallets for a long time,” Ricci said. “Social media has given people the power to organize and effect change on both sides.”
The contentious election and appointment of Breitbart executive chairman Steve Bannon to Trump’s cabinet, has made it even harder for companies to truly avoid making a statement by pulling ads from the news organization, according to Ricci.
Kellogg spokesman Kris Charles said in a statement that the company's decision had nothing to do with politics.
“We regularly work with our media-buying partners to ensure our ads do not appear on sites that aren’t aligned with our values as a company,” Kris Charles, a spokeswoman for Kellogg, said in a statement. “We recently reviewed the list of sites where our ads can be placed and decided to discontinue advertising on Breitbart.com. We are working to remove our ads from that site.”
And while many companies are making the decision to pull advertising some are taking the opposite approach.
Jeannie Whited, a Nissan spokeswoman, said the company has no plans to stop advertising on the site.
“Nissan places ads in a variety of sites in order to reach as many consumers as possible,” Whited said. “The placement of Nissan advertising is not intended to be a political commentary.”