“Alt-right” news website Breitbart has launched a campaign against the Kellogg cereal company after the firm said it would no longer advertise on the site.
Breitbart has been in the spotlight since it emerged that its controversial executive chairman Steve Bannon would become chief strategist and senior counsellor to President-Elect Donald Trump in the White House.
Articles published on the site during Bannon’s tenure carried incendiary headlines such as: “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive And Crazy”; “Political Correctness Protects Muslim Rape Culture”; “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women In Tech, They Just Suck At Interviews”; and “The Solution To Online ‘Harassment’ Is Simple: Woman Should Log Off”.
Kellogg’s said on Wednesday that it no longer wanted its brand to be associated with such content after being alerted to its association by consumers.
But in retaliation to the decision, Breitbart launched an official campaign against the food company.
In an article on the site, Breitbart editor-in-chief Alexander Marlow encouraged readers to boycott Kellogg products and described the decision to pull advertising as a “spit in the face” of readers:
Breitbart News is the largest platform for pro-family content anywhere on the Internet. We are fearless advocates for traditional American values, perhaps most important among them is freedom of speech, or our motto ‘more voices, not less.’ For Kellogg’s, an American brand, to blacklist Breitbart News in order to placate left-wing totalitarians is a disgraceful act of cowardice. They insult our incredibly diverse staff and spit in the face of our 45,000,000 highly engaged, highly perceptive, highly loyal readers, many of whom are Kellogg’s customers. Boycotting Breitbart News for presenting mainstream American ideas is an act of discrimination and intense prejudice. If you serve Kellogg’s products to your family, you are serving up bigotry at your breakfast table.
A petition held on the Breitbart site had 100,000 signatures against the company by Thursday morning, and the site published a detailed list of all its products so readers could boycott the firm.
Breitbart claims to traffic around 45m visitors to its website, though Similar Web puts this figure as high as 80m per month.
A Kellogg’s spokesperson told The Huffington Post: “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 company.
“This involves reviewing websites where ads could potentially be placed using filtering technology to assess site content. As you can imagine, there is a very large volume of websites, so occasionally something is inadvertently missed.”
Kellogg’s, which produces cereals such as Corn Flakes and owns snack brands including Pringles, is the latest firm to cut ties with Breitbart.
Last week, ad distributor AppNexus deactivated Breitbart’s access to its advertising tools.
Other companies to pull advertising from the site include Allstate, Nest, EarthLink, Warby Parker and SoFi, Bloomberg reported.
Reaction to the boycott was predictably mixed - though many online mocked the campaign.