Kellogg’s has announced that it will pull all advertising from the site.
The company cited concerns that Breitbart News, which has been described by many as portraying alt-right ideals, does not align with its values. The term “alt-right” is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “a set of far-right ideologies, groups and individuals whose core belief is that ‘white identity’ is under attack by multicultural forces using ‘political correctness’ and ‘social justice’ to undermine white people and ‘their’ civilization.”
“We regularly work with our media-buying partners to ensure our ads do not appear on sites that are not aligned with our values as a company,” said Kris Charles, a spokeswoman for Kellogg’s. “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.”
Breitbart called the decision “un-American” in a statement obtained by the Associated Press.
“Kellogg’s decision to blacklist one of the largest conservative media outlets in America is economic censorship of mainstream conservative political discourse,” it said in the statement. “That is as un-American as it gets.”
Kellogg’s isn’t the first brand to pull its advertising from the website. That growing list includes Allstate, Nest, EarthLink, Warby Parker and SoFi.
Many of those brands were originally unaware that their ads were appearing on the site, according to Digiday, as many online advertisements are “retargeting ads,” meaning they follow a user around rather than being placed on a specific website.
That’s why you might see ads for something you’ve recently purchased on various sites. If you, for example, recently bought a pair of boots from Thursday Boot Company, its advertisements might pop up anywhere from Breitbart to the Huffington Post, depending on what websites you visit.
As Allstate told Digiday, “Unfortunately, the nature of Internet buys is such that we are unable to receive full disclosure with regards to all of the websites on which our advertising may run.”
Warby Parker offered the website a similar statement: “Warby Parker does not buy advertising from Breitbart News Network directly. If one of our ads appears on a Breitbart site, it’s due to a sale through third-party ad networks or ad exchanges. We are looking into actively blocking our ads from appearing on Breitbart News Network.”
Breitbart, which was founded by the now-deceased former Drudge Report editor Andrew Breitbart and boasted 19.2 million unique U.S. visitors in October, regularly publishes articles with provocative — some say racist and sexist — headlines, such as “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew,” “Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage” and “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women In Tech, They Just Suck At Interviews.”
The website’s former chairman and currently one of President-elect Donald Trump’s top aides, Stephen K. Bannon, told Mother Jones magazine, “We’re the platform for the alt-right.”
The term “alt-right” was coined by Richard Spencer, who recently drew headlines for shouting “Hail Trump,” which elicited a Nazi salute from those attending Spencer’s speech at a conference of the National Policy Institute in Washington. The NPI describes itself as “an independent organization dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world.”
The alt-right is often associated with white nationalism, but Bannon recently told the Hollywood Reporter: “I’m not a white nationalist, I’m a nationalist. I’m an economic nationalist.” Furthermore, Trump told the New York Times, “If I thought [Bannon] was a racist, or alt-right, or any of the things that we can, you know, the terms we can use, I wouldn’t even think about hiring him.”
Breitbart News’s current leadership has also pushed back against the idea that it has any affiliation with the alt-right or white nationalism.
According to the Hill newspaper, Breitbart News is preparing a lawsuit against a “major media company” for calling it a “white nationalist website,” but it did not say which media company.
In a statement to the Hill, a representative for Breitbart News claimed that the site “rejects racism in all its varied and ugly forms. Always has, always will.”
“Breitbart News Network, a pro-America, conservative website, is preparing a multi-million dollar lawsuit against a major media company for its baseless and defamatory claim that Breitbart News is a ‘white nationalist website,’” the statement read. “The diversity of the company’s news coverage and its staff continue to embody Andrew Breitbart’s colorblind, distinctly American commitment to ‘E pluribus unum’ — out of many, one.”
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