BuzzFeed Terminates $1.3 Million Advertising Deal With RNC Over Trump

"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."
By Steven Klett, Epoch Times
June 6, 2016 12:25 pm Last Updated: June 6, 2016 12:57 pm

The website BuzzFeed terminated an advertising deal of $1.3 million with the Republican National Committee over Donald Trump’s rhetoric and campaign promises, CEO Jonah Peretti informed employees on June 6 through an email:

“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,” said Peretti.

“As you know, we accept advertisements from both republican and democratic candidates and we were pleased to accept this advertising order from the RNC.

However, that decision was reversed due to the presumptive nominee’s promises on the campaign trail, which Peretti said are “directly opposed to the freedoms of our employees.”

“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.”

Later in the article, Peretti compared running ads for Donald Trump to running ads for cigarettes:

“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.”

The buy for the ad campaign was revealed to Politico to be $1.3 million, from a source who said the company was prioritizing the employees concerned with “having our site promoting things, that limit our freedom and make it harder for them to live their lives.”

In the past, the Trump campaign has had a contentious relationship with the website, with former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski threatening to sue BuzzFeed over an article alleging sexual harassment of female reporters.  

Below is the full email from Peretti:

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