Home Advertisers’ increasing vigilance to avoid the appearance of sponsoring hate content

Advertisers’ increasing vigilance to avoid the appearance of sponsoring hate content


The purpose of this page is to provide a summary of the specific verbiage employed by major corporations, when they sever advertising relationships with major media vehicles and controversial individuals.  As shown in the following citations, this verbiage frequently cites the corporation’s prohibition on sponsoring or appearing to sponsor content that:

  • Incites hatred in general, and specifically against certain groups, or members of said groups
  • Promotes terrorism, racism or sexism
  • Incites violence
  • Conflicts with the values of the corporation, or its brands
  • “Crosses the line on the standards of good taste” (Delta Air Lines)
  • “Is intended to provoke and offend” (Bank of America)


On canceling its advertising on Google’s ad network or YouTube:

AT&T said that it is halting all ad spending on Google except for search ads. That means AT&T ads will not run on YouTube or two million websites that take part in Google’s ad network.

“We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate,” the company said in an emailed statement. “Until Google can ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms.”

– Source: USA Today, March 22, 2017

Johnson & Johnson

On canceling ads with YouTube worldwide:

Johnson & Johnson said Wednesday it had decided to pause all YouTube advertising globally “to ensure our product advertising does not appear on channels that promote offensive content.”

“We will continue to take every measure to ensure our brand advertising is consistent with our brand values,” the company said in a statement.

– Source: USA Today, March 22, 2017


USAA is one of America’s largest providers of insurance, banking and investment services for military members and their families.

After facing a backlash for pulling advertisements from Fox News’ host Sean Hannity’s show, USAA will no longer run ads on liberal MSNBC host Rachel Maddow’s show.

The insurance company originally claimed that it would no longer run ads on “Hannity” because of a company policy against airing ads on “opinion shows.” The Media Research Center then revealed that the company had placed ads on MSNBC shows hosted by Maddow, Chris Hayes and Lawrence O’Donnell, all of whom present the news from a liberal viewpoint. (RELATED: USAA’s Excuse For Pulling Ads From ‘Hannity’ Is Full Of Holes)

– Source: Daily Caller, May 26, 2017

Delta Air Lines

On canceling its sponsorship of New York’s Public Theater and Shakespeare in the Park, after it discovered that a stage play depicted the graphic assassination of President Trump:

No matter what your political stance may be, the graphic staging of Julius Caesar at this summer’s Free Shakespeare in the Park does not reflect Delta Air Lines’ values. Their artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste. We have notified them of our decision to end our sponsorship as the official airline of The Public Theater effective immediately.

– Source: CNN, June 12, 2017

Bank of America

On canceling its sponsorship of New York’s Public Theater and Shakespeare in the Park, after it discovered that a stage play depicted the graphic assassination of President Trump:

“Bank of America supports art programs worldwide, including an 11-year partnership with The Public Theater and Shakespeare in the Park,” according to a statement given to Deadline by a company spokesperson. “The Public Theater chose to present Julius Caesar in a way that was intended to provoke and offend. Had this intention been made known to us, we would have decided not to sponsor it. We are withdrawing our funding for this production.”

– Source: Deadline, June 12, 2017


Google and its YouTube subsidiary recently began enforcing what it claims are its restrictions on hate content, including the most-viewed YouTube star, “PewDiePie”:

[A] YouTube spokesperson said, “We’ve decided to cancel the release of ‘Scare PewDiePie’ season 2 and we’re removing the PewDiePie channel from Google Preferred.” Google Preferred is the internet giant’s advertising program for selling popular “brand-safe content” on YouTube.[…]

According to YouTube’s guidelines, if content is intended to be humorous or satirical, it may remain online, “even if offensive or in poor taste.” However, “if the uploader’s intent is to incite violence or hatred, it will be removed.”

– Source: Variety

“As stated in our program policies, Google ads may not be placed on pages that contain content that: Threatens or advocates harm on oneself or others […]; Incites hatred against, promotes discrimination of, or disparages an individual or group on the basis of their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization,” the email stated.

The email warned The Liberty Conservative that it must either remove ads from that page, or “modify or remove the violating content to meet our AdSense policies.”

– Source: PJ Media: “Google Issues Ultimatum to Conservative Website: Remove ‘Hateful’ Article or Lose Ad Revenue”


AppNexus, described as “one of the biggest digital advertising services” (detail), on canceling Breitbart.com’s ability to sell ads using its service:

AppNexus said it would no longer allow Breitbart to sell ad space via its platform, after determining that the site had broken its code on hate speech and incitement to violence.

– Source: BBC, November 23, 2016

Note: In July 2015, AppNexus entered into a strategic relationship with AOL, HuffPost’s parent company, and Microsoft.


On canceling ad buys on Breitbart.com:

“We regularly work with our media-buying partners to ensure our ads do not appear on sites that aren’t aligned with our values as a company,” said Kris Charles, a spokeswoman for Kellogg, which also makes Frosted Flakes and Special K cereal. […]

Kellogg decided to “blacklist” Breitbart from the websites where its products appear after being contacted by customers who saw ads for Frosted Flakes and Frosted Mini Wheats, according to Charles.

– Source: Bloomberg, November 29, 2016


“[N]o one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others.”

– Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, on why he banned alt-right blogger Milo Yiannopoulos, July 20, 2016


Avvo, a leading digital marketplace for legal services, on canceling ads with Breitbart:

The legal referral site Avvo told exchanges to remove its online ads from Breitbart in November after company leaders were alerted by activists, including the anonymous social media group Sleeping Giants, which has aggressively targeted the conservative news site.

“I’m sure there are people who visit Breitbart who could benefit from services we provide,” said Josh King, chief legal officer at Avvo. “But it’s a site we’re not comfortable our brand being associated with.”

He said Avvo concluded that Breitbart promotes racist and sexist views and traffics in fake news, but he didn’t cite specific articles.

– Source: Los Angeles Times, June 13, 2017


On its efforts to terminate the ability of anyone who engages in prohibited conduct to use its service:

PayPal has a longstanding, well-defined and consistently enforced Acceptable Use Policy that governs our approach to this issue. Regardless of the individual or organization in question, we work to ensure that our services are not used to accept payments or donations for activities that promote hate, violence or racial intolerance.

– Source: “PayPal’s AUP – Remaining Vigilant on Hate, Violence & Intolerance,”
August 15, 2017