BuzzFeed has canceled a pretty lucrative deal with the Republican National Committee. The advertising deal wasn't that big of a deal for the company, but it was a big deal for the RNC to connect with younger voters. However, Buzzfeed called the deal off because of the tone and substance of Donald Trump's campaign, according to BuzzFeed Chief Executive Jonah Peretti said on Monday.
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While Trump still hasn't been confirmed as the nominee, he is the only one really in the running and no one could catch up to him.
In a memo to the staffers at the company, Mr. Peretti said that Trump's campaign “is directly opposed to the freedoms of our employees in the United States and around the world and in some cases, such as his proposed ban on international travel for Muslims, would make it impossible for our employees to do their jobs.”
“Space was reserved on many platforms, but we never intended to use Buzzfeed,” Sean Spicer, chief strategist and communications director at the RNC, said in an emailed statement.
The RNC has spent about $150 million in advertising across many different platforms.
Mr. Peretti said that they don't like to turn away money, but sometimes it is necessary. “In some cases we must make business exceptions: we don’t run cigarette ads because they are hazardous to our health, and we won’t accept Trump ads for the exact same reason.”
“Trump advocates banning Muslims from traveling to the United States, he’s threatened to limit the free press, and made offensive statements toward women, immigrants, descendants of immigrants, and foreign nationals,” Mr. Peretti wrote.
The ads were slated to start in the fall.
“This was Jonah’s call, and the prerogative of a publisher,” Ben Smith, BuzzFeed editor-in-chief, said in an emailed statement.
Equal time doctrines require broadcast stations to have the same amount of time with candidates, but websites and newspapers don't have to follow that rule, according to Rick Edmonds.
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“It’s quite common for newspapers and websites to turn down ads if they don’t think they are appropriate, and that could include things like guns and escort services, and it could also include hate speech,” Mr. Edmonds said. “What seems to make this case unusual is it typically would not include a leading campaign, but I guess you could argue this isn’t the typical party or typical candidate.”