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Disney backs down amid backlash from Democrats.
Disney backs down amid backlash from Democrats. Photo Illustration: Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Amid backlash, Disney changes policies to allow Hulu to run political issue ads

After three Democratic organizations attacked Disney, Hulu over rejected advertisements centered around guns and abortion, Disney changes their policies.

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Three Democratic Organizations — the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Governors Association — initially complained to The Washington Post in an article on Monday, July 15 that Hulu had rejected joint advertisements centered around guns and abortion, citing a supposed policy in place that rejects their political promotion. 

“Hulu’s censorship of the truth is outrageous, offensive, and another step down a dangerous path for our country. Voters have the right to know the facts about MAGA Republicans’ agenda on issues like abortion — and Hulu is doing a huge disservice to the American people by blocking voters from learning the truth about the GOP record or denying these issues from even being discussed,” the organizations said in a statement. 

As of Tuesday morning, July 26, #BoycottHulu was one of the top trending topics on Twitter. 

The rejected advertisements were instead posted on Twitter for the whole world to see what the huge streaming platform refused to air. The Hollywood Reporter pointed out the Communications Act of 1934, a federal law that binds networks to air political advertisements from both parties as to not be accused of censorship, but streamers are not bound by that same law, which has allowed political leaders to get the younger viewers to watch their ads. 

However, in a huge turn of events, after 24 hours, Disney announced on Wednesday, July 27 and confirmed to Axios, that the policy had been changed. The issues of abortion and gun reform are vital for Democrats as the country nears the midterm elections, and Disney’s original rejection of the advertisements was seen as censorship. 

"After a thorough review of ad policies across its linear networks and streaming platforms over the last few months, Disney is now aligning Hulu’s political advertising policies to be consistent with the Company’s general entertainment and sports cable networks and ESPN+,” Disney said in a statement about the policy change.

Along with the changes made Wednesday, the advertisement subscription plan of the Disney+ service to launch later this year, marketers have been informed that they will not allow alcohol, political, and rival streamers advertisements to be shown. Hulu will follow fellow Disney networks FX and ESPN with their advertisements, but the company still reserves the right to request edits. 

"Hulu will now accept candidate and issue advertisements covering a wide spectrum of policy positions, but reserves the right to request edits or alternative creative in alignment with industry standards," Disney continued. 

The very short-lived saga comes on the heels of a year-long recent controversy surrounding Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek, who received much hate from his employees after declining to speak up against Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill that has since been signed into law. After the company did speak up, conservatives unleashed their own backlash

Twitter and TikTok are other huge media conglomerates that do not allow political advertisements at all over the idea that it upsets both sides. According to data from an analytics firm, AdImpact, over $2.9 billion has already been spent on midterm election advertisements.

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