BuzzFeed Cancels $1.3 Million Advertising Deal with RNC Over "Hazardous" Trump

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Jonah Peretti, founder and CEO of BuzzFeed, sent a memo to his company’s staff Monday explaining why he was terminating an advertising deal with the Republican National Committee worth $1.3 million. The money quote:

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.

Politico, speaking with a BuzzFeed source, notes that the issue transcends the “wall” (heh) between the editorial and business sides of the company, and that the decision boils down to the workers.

The source said that the main consideration was the site’s employees – that BuzzFeed could not countenance “having employees make ads, or working at the company and having our site promoting things, that limit our freedom and make it harder for them to live their lives.”

It’s unlikely that this will have much of an effect on BuzzFeed reporters covering Trump’s campaign, if only because the relationship between the two was already contentious. At least one BuzzFeed staffer has been barred from a Trump rally, and the campaign has threatened to sue the company over printed allegations that campaign manager Corey Lewandowski made unwanted sexual advances to female journalists.

Read the full text of Peretti’s memo below:

“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

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