BuzzFeed has terminated an estimated US$1.3 million advertising contract with the Republican National Committee (RNC) in protest of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s rhetoric and campaign promises.
BuzzFeed and the RNC signed a contract back in April. According to the company’s CEO and founder Jonah Peretti, the agreement called for RNC to “spend a significant amount on political advertisements slated to run during the fall election cycle.”
But the deal has been canned, Peretti wrote to BuzzFeed staff: “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”.
Peretti said the advertising ban would not affect the site’s news coverage of Trump. BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief Ben Smith reiterated that coverage of the Trump campaign by BuzzFeed News journalists would go unchanged: “This was Jonah’s call, and the prerogative of a publisher”.
Check out Peretti’s full memo below:
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.