With the 2022 midterm election just around the corner, Democrats in Washington need all the help they can to prevent Americans who are upset with the way the country is being run from voting Republican and possibly flipping the House as well as the Senate.
Democrats are willing to spend big money on political ads this year but they are already reportedly being declined by one major streaming service. Disney-owned streaming service Hulu is refusing to run Democrat ads that attack Republicans on the issues of guns and abortion and Democrats are not happy.
Three Democratic organizations: the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Democratic Governors Association complained to The Washington Post in an article titled “Dems fume at Disney’s Hulu for blocking ads on abortion, guns” to slam the Disney-backed service for not allowing their political ads a couple of months before the midterms.
The Washington Post reported the three Democrat committees informed them that they “tried to purchase joint ads on abortion and guns with Hulu on July 15, along with identical placements on a Disney-affiliated ABC affiliate in Philadelphia and the company’s cable sports channel ESPN. The Hulu ads never ran, while the others did.”
In response to the ads not running on Hulu Christie Roberts, Tim Persico and Noam Lee the executive directors of the three committees in a joint statement provided to The Washington Post. said, “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’ extreme agenda on abortion. Hulu is doing a huge disservice to the American people.”
The Washington Post also cited an anonymous Hulu employee that told them, “We do accept candidate ads that reference those topics” referring to guns and abortion. However, this alleged anonymous employee also added, “It needs to be in context.”
Suraj Patel, a Democrat candidate for Congress in New York City, posted a letter of protest to Disney CEO Bob Chapek and Hulu President Joe Earley claiming that a Hulu representative told his campaign that an ad they submitted which criticizes Republicans on abortion, climate change, gun violence, and the January 6th protest on the U.S. Capitol need to be changed.
He wrote in his letter, “On June 30th, my campaign received a call from one of your representatives informing me that according to an ‘unwritten Hulu policy,’ merely mentioning these topics was considered too ‘sensitive,’ and without censoring my campaign advertisement I would not be allowed to air the ad on Hulu.”
“To not discuss these topics in my campaign ad is to not address the most important issues facing the United States,” Patel wrote. “A democracy only functions with open debate, shared facts and an informed electorate. We are at an absolutely critical time in our nation’s history.”
He later wrote, “Your ban on mobilization messaging has a perverse effect on Democracy.”
In an interview discussing his letter Patel also stated, “This policy has incredible implications for people nationwide, both voters and people running for office. You need to communicate with younger voters on the mediums where they are watching. Cable is not where they are watching.”
In light of Patel’s complaints about Hulu, the streaming service contacted Patel’s campaign Monday afternoon to let him know that his original ad would be accepted on the platform, including the images of Jan. 6th.
Not only would Hulu approve Patel’s ad, but The Walt Disney Company at-large would immediately cave to the complaints brought forth by The Washington Post.
A representative told The Hollywood Reporter, “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 representative added, “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’s immediate change in policy at Hulu is no surprise given how the company acted in Florida when they chose to oppose a bill banning the grooming of young children. Disney went to war against the state of Florida and Republican Governor of Florida Rob DeSantis over the Parental Rights in Education bill, which prohibits the teaching of sexuality and transgenderism to children between kindergarten and third grade.
The battle with Florida did not end well for Disney as the Florida legislature passed a bill ending the tax and governing exemptions afforded to the company-owned Reedy Creek Improvement District, upon which the Walt Disney World Resort sits.
Tracking firm Kantar Media projects that $7.8 billion will be spent on political advertising for the 2022 election season meaning that Democrats having access to major streaming platforms is a major part of their strategy in the upcoming midterms.
As Democrats hope to fill political ads about Jan 6th and abortion, polls going into the midterms show that the majority of Americans are unhappy about the direction of the country citing issues such as record high gas & energy prices, record inflation, food shortages, supply chain issues, and fears that the country is already in an economic recession.
With the country rapidly going in a negative direction, Democrats are going to need to spend as much money as possible on ads to convince the American people that voters are safe in their hands heading into November.