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Hulu concedes to Democratic pressure, will allow political issue ads

The streaming service relented on its alleged ban of ads related to abortion rights, gun control, and climate change

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Hulu concedes to pressure, allows political issue ads
Hulu
Photo: Rachel Murray (Getty Images)

That Hulu boycott worked mighty quick. Facing pressure from Democrats and a “#CancelHulu” Twitter trend, the streamer announced that they would, after all, allow ads referencing certain political issues on its platform.

Disney, which owns a controlling stake in the platform, was accused of inconsistency when ads regarding abortion, gun control, and the January 6 insurrection ran on other networks owned by the platform. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, a representative acknowledges, “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+.”

The statement continues, “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.”

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Leaders of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Democratic Governors Association previously called the “censorship of the truth” on Hulu “outrageous, offensive, and another step down a dangerous path for our country,” saying in a statement that “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.”

Politics in the streaming era is still sort of the wild west; as THR pointed out, streamers are not beholden to the same law that requires broadcast TV to air political ads from both parties. Following the 2020 election, companies like Spotify also grappled with how to deliver political ads ethically amidst widespread misinformation. (The music streaming service announced earlier this year it would reintroduce political ads within certain podcasts for the midterm elections.) The algorithm to streamline democracy is clearly still in the works, but in the meantime, a good old fashioned threat to a business’s bottom line remains as effective as ever.