BuzzFeed Ends $1.3M Ad Deal With RNC Over Trump Campaign Rhetoric

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Source: Tech Addict/Equality365-Facebook

Source: Tech Addict/Equality365-Facebook

The popular listicle site, BuzzFeed, announced on Monday the online publisher is terminating a $1.3 million contract with the Republican National Committee (RNC) over Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, citing the opposition of the campaign to the “freedoms of [BuzzFeed’s] employees in the United States.”

In a statement, BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti explained the publisher and the RNC signed an agreement to “spend a significant amount on political advertisements slated to run during the Fall election cycle.”

Peretti continued:

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“Since signing this advertising deal, Donald Trump, as you know, has become the presumptive nominee of his party. The tone and substance of his campaign are unique in the history of modern US politics. 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.”

“Earlier today BuzzFeed informed the RNC that we would not accept Trump for President ads and that we would be terminating our agreement with them. The Trump 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.”

Politico reported the advertising deal was worth an estimated $1.3 million.

BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith said later in a follow up email, according to the site, that “that the decision was not an editorial call and that coverage of the Trump campaign by BuzzFeed News journalists would go unchanged. ‘This was Jonah’s call, and the prerogative of a publisher,’ Smith wrote.”

Politico reported that RNC chief strategist Sean Spicer said in a statement to CNN the Republican group “never intended” to use the ad space on the site and questioned BuzzFeed’s not ruling out a partnership with Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, who is under investigation by the FBI for the use of her email server while secretary of state.

“Space was reserved on many platforms, but we never intended to use BuzzFeed,” Spicer said. “It is ironic that they have not ruled out taking money from a candidate currently under investigation by the FBI.”

Read the full statement from Peretti to BuzzFeed employees below:

Hello BuzzFeeders,

I wanted to share with you a business decision we have made regarding the Trump for President campaign and why we made it.

In April, the Republican National Committee signed an agreement with BuzzFeed to spend a significant amount on political advertisements slated to run during the Fall election cycle. As you know, we accept advertisements from both republican and democratic candidates and we were pleased to accept this advertising order from the RNC.

Since signing this advertising deal, Donald Trump, as you know, has become the presumptive nominee of his party. The tone and substance of his campaign are unique in the history of modern US politics. 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.

Earlier today BuzzFeed informed the RNC that we would not accept Trump for President ads and that we would be terminating our agreement with them. The Trump 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.

We don’t need to and do not expect to agree with the positions or values of all our advertisers. And as you know, there is a wall between our business and editorial operations. This decision to cancel this ad buy will have no influence on our continuing coverage of the campaign.

We certainly don’t like to turn away revenue that funds all the important work we do across the company. However, 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.

Thanks,

Jonah

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