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After outcry, Disney will allow political issue ads on Hulu – Spectrum News NY1

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As of Wednesday, Hulu will now allow political issue ads and candidate ads on its streaming service after its parent company, the Walt Disney Company, reviewed and reevaluated its advertising policies. 
The move comes after the streaming service received backlash earlier this week after a report said it rejected ads from Democratic organizations on topics such as abortion, gun control and climate change. 
The news was first reported by Axios.
In a statement sent to Spectrum News on Wednesday, Disney stated that “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+."
However, the company said that it still has the right to ask for edits.
"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," the company added.
The controversy began on Monday when the Washington Post reported that on July 15, three Democratic Party committees – the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)  and the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) –  tried to purchase joint ads on abortion rights and gun control with Hulu. 
Despite having been accepted and appearing on Youtube, Roku, NBC, Facebook and broadcast and cable TV, the ads were reportedly rejected by Hulu over “content-related” issues
Unlike television networks, Hulu and other streaming services are not bound by the 1934 Communications Act – a law that requires broadcast television networks to provide politicians equal access to the airwaves. Streaming services have control over which commercials it airs. 
The ambiguity of Hulu’s policy sparked outrage online and from the Democratic committees.
In a joint statement sent to Spectrum News one day before Disney changed their ad policy, executive directors of the DSCC, DCCC and DGA, Christie Roberts, Tim Persico and Noam Lee, said that “Hulu’s censorship of the truth is outrageous.” 
“Voters have the right to know the facts about MAGA Republicans’ agenda on issues like abortion,” they said. “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.”
The committees called on Hulu to reverse its policy on ads, stating that it is “blocking Americans from getting information about some of the most critical issues in this midterm election.”
In response to the outcry from the Democratic committees, several Twitter users publicly announced that they were canceling their subscriptions to Hulu and encouraged others to do the same with the hashtag, ‘#BoycottHulu’ trending on Twitter Tuesday morning. 
“I’m canceling Hulu today,” wrote Fred Guttenberg, a prominent gun safety activist whose daughter, Jamie, was killed in the February 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Musician April Smith urged her followers on Twitter to "Cancel your Hulu subscription until they get the message," she wrote on Twitter. "You won’t miss out on the Handmaid’s Tale because we’re basically living the first season right now."
The Democratic committees were not the only ones who have had ads rejected by Hulu in recent months. Earlier this month, Suraj Patel, a Democratic candidate for Congress in New York City, published a letter to Hulu, reported first by Jezebel, which exposed that the streaming service had demanded his campaign remove at least one of three “sensitive” issues – abortion, climate change or gun laws – from his digital campaign ads and replace it with a “nonsensitive” issue. 
In the letter, Patel demanded that Hulu stop the policy that required “censoring” a campaign advertisement before it could be aired. 
“To not discuss these topics in my campaign ad is to not address the most important issues facing the United States,” said Patel in the letter. “We are at an absolutely critical time in our nation’s history. How are voters supposed to make informed choices if their candidates cannot talk about the most important issues of the day?” 
In May, it was reported that Hulu rejected Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux’s D-Ga., ad that mentioned her “pro-choice position.” In a statement, Bourdeaux’s asked Hulu to “drop this dangerous and outrageous ban on pro-choice advertising.”
During the 2020 campaign cycle, Priorities USA Action and the Color of Change PAC, two independent liberal groups, had ads rejected by Hulu, Google and Verizon that showed clips of police hitting protestors during the Black Lives Matter protests in the Summer of 2020. 
“Hulu is one of the most impactful platforms for advertising to young voters,” wrote Democratic Pollster and Strategist, Matt McDermott on Twitter. “By blocking ads on issues like climate change and abortion, Hulu is effectively censoring Democrats from engaging a massive swath of voters on the most critical issues facing our country.”


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She has been writing columns on consumer gadgets for over 2 years now. Her areas of interest include smartphones, tablets, mobile operating systems and apps. She holds an M.C.S. degree from Texas A&M University.