Hulu, the Disney-owned streaming service, has drawn the ire of Democratic Party campaign and fundraising groups for reportedly refusing to run advertisements pertaining to abortion and gun safety.
And according to a national Democratic Party official, via The Washington Post, Hulu has yet to provide a reason for bypassing on ads targeting gun safety or abortion.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), and Democratic Governors Association (DGA) have been at the forefront of this dispute, slamming Hulu's "censorship of truth is outrageous, offensive, and another step down a dangerous path for our country."
The rest of the tri-group statement reads, "Voters have the right to know the facts about [Make American Great Again] 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."
Under the Communications Act of 1934, broadcast television networks are legally required to air political ads from the Democratic and Republican parties.
In essence, the law states that TV stations "shall have no power of censorship over the material broadcast" by any legally qualified candidate.
However, Forbes reports that digital platforms, such as Hulu, are not obligated to follow the Communications Act ruling.
According to The Hill, the DGA, DSCC, and DCCC submitted abortion- and gun-safety-related ads to Hulu on July 15, in addition to the Disney-owned ABC affiliate in Philadelphia Pennsylvania (WPVI-TV) and ESPN, the self-touted "Worldwide Leader in Sports" programming.
The Democrat official says Facebook, YouTube, Roku, and NBCUniversal provided placement for the abortion and gun safety ads — but not Hulu.
Upon requesting clarification about the omission, Hulu's Democratic-affiliated vendors were told the matter was "content-related."
And last week, Hulu reportedly said it would accept the once-rejected ads — before rescinding that particular message, saying it had been sent in error.
Hulu's evaluation process for airing ads of a sensitive political nature are reportedly handled on a case-by-case basis.
However, as Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, D-Ga., points out, this isn't the first time Hulu has rejected the Democrats' messaging tactics.
Bourdeaux claims Hulu blocked one of her campaign ads in May.
Also, according to Jezebel magazine, Hulu had previously rejected an ad from New York state congressional candidate Suraj Patel, one that addressed abortion rights.
Citing the Jezebel piece, Hulu asked Patel's campaign to remove at least one of three "sensitive" issues promoted in the ad — climate change, gun laws, or abortion.
There's been media speculation of Disney quietly exercising more neutrality with "sensitive" political ads on streaming platforms, as a means of avoiding controversy similar to the "Parental Rights in Education" bill dustup from the spring, when Disney and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis publicly sparred about a state law which prohibits discussions on sexual orientation or gender identity in elementary schools (covering kindergarten through the third grade).
As a consequence of this fight, Disney lost some of its tax-collection advantages in central Florida.
For its complex business arrangement from May 2019, Disney took "operational control" of Hulu then, with the understanding that Comcast would ultimately sell a 33% Hulu stake to Disney.
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