Kellogg’s announced this week that they would no longer allow their advertisements to appear on Breitbart News, one of the most popular conservative websites on the internet. Breitbart has been the focus of intense mainstream media scrutiny since President-elect Donald Trump named former Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon his White House Chief Strategist last month.
Breitbart doesn’t try to hide its biases, but critics have said it’s a darker place than the word “conservative” indicates. They say it’s the online home of the “alt-right,” which we are to understand is a term synonymous with white nationalism. If you never bothered to visit the site yourself, you’d imagine by now that it’s a snakehole of racism, comparable to a forum like Stormfront. Of course, when you actually click past the headlines, you realize that it’s nothing of the kind. “Controversial?” Sure. They aren’t afraid to push buttons, and they have no tolerance for political correctness. Racist? No. Just no.
Still, when it comes to corporate advertisers, “controversial” is bad enough.
“We regularly work with our media-buying partners to ensure our ads do not appear on sites that are not aligned with our values as a company,” said Kris Charles, a Kellogg’s spokesperson. “We recently reviewed the list of sites where our ads can be placed and decided to discontinue advertising on Breitbart.com. We are working to remove our ads from that site.”
In response, Breitbart is calling on its readers to boycott the cereal giant.
“Kellogg’s decision to blacklist one of the largest conservative media outlets in America is economic censorship of mainstream conservative political discourse,” they said in a statement. “That is as un-American as it gets.”
It’s a bad time for Kellogg’s to make enemies in the political media; Amnesty International released a report on Wednesday condemning the corporation for using child labor to expand profits. According to the human rights group, Wilmar, a palm oil manufacturer which sells to Kellogg’s and other major companies, is guilty of exploiting workers in Indonesia.
“Amnesty International found serious human rights abuses on the plantations of Wilmar and its suppliers. These included forced labour and child labour, gender discrimination, as well as exploitative and dangerous working practices that put the health of workers at risk,” the report concluded.
Maybe with their sanctimonious stand on Breitbart, Kellogg’s was hoping to draw attention away from the report. If so, they made a terrible calculation. Say what you will about that site, they dig their teeth in. Kellogg’s may be sorry it spoke up.