Democrats are furious after the streaming service Hulu refused to run ads highlighting their core campaign issues.
The Washington Post reported Monday that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Democratic Governors Association attempted to purchase joint ads on core issues like abortion, gun control, and the January 6 investigation, to air on several platforms, including Hulu. While the ads aired in other places, Hulu never ran the ads, prompting outrage from Democratic leaders.
The executive directors of the three Democratic campaign arms blasted the decision, accusing the streaming platform of “censorship” and covering for so-called “MAGA Republicans.”
“Hulu’s censorship of the truth is outrageous, offensive, and another step down a dangerous path for our country,” the DSCC’s Christie Roberts, DCCC’s Tim Persico, and DGA’s Noam Lee fumed in a joint statement provided to the Washington Post on Monday. “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.”
According to The Post, an anonymous source “familiar with Hulu’s policies” said that, while the company does not publicly disclose its ad guidelines, Hulu prohibits ads that take a position on a controversial issue. The ads themselves are reviewed on a case-by-case basis; the advertising team occasionally sends recommendations for edits back to the advertisers. The source also said that the issues themselves were not the reason the ads were rejected. “We do accept candidate ads that reference those topics,” the source said about abortion and gun violence in particular. “It needs to be in context.”
All three committees reacted to the news on Twitter. “@Hulu’s censorship of the truth is outrageous and offensive,” the DCCC tweeted Monday, linking to the Washington Post article. “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.”
“@Hulu is REJECTING our ads calling out GOP attacks on abortion access and gun safety,” the DSCC tweeted. “Their shady policies amount to outrageous political censorship. Americans deserve to know the truth about these issues, and Hulu has no right to block it.”
“Voters have the right to know the facts about Republicans’ actions on issues like abortion,” The DGA tweeted. “@Hulu is doing a disservice to the American people by blocking voters from learning the truth about the GOP — or denying these issues from even being discussed.” The DGA followed their tweet with several of the rejected ads.
Disney, which has a majority ownership stake in Hulu, has already said it will reject ads that promote alcohol and political content from its new ad-supported Disney+ streaming service coming later this year..