Disney's Hulu accused by Democrats of censoring ads on abortion and guns

Democratic groups are pushing back at the Disney-owned streaming service Hulu over its decision to not air ads about abortion and guns. (Photo illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

In recent months, Disney has faced a firestorm from conservative Republicans over the company's pledge to help overturn a Florida law restricting how LGBTQ persons and problems can be discussed in schools.

Now, Democrats are incensed about a Disney-owned streaming service Hulu's decision not to show advertisements addressing abortion and firearms – two essential campaign issues for Democrats.

According to a statement released by the Democratic Party's Senate, congressional campaign committees, and gubernatorial association, "Hulu's censorship of the truth is outrageous, offensive, and another step down a dangerous path for our country." "Voters have a right to know the facts about the MAGA Republicans' agenda on issues like abortion, and Hulu is doing a tremendous disservice to the American people by preventing voters from learning the truth about the GOP record or preventing these issues from being discussed at all."

A Disney representative who knows the situation stated that while Hulu accepts candidate advertisements, the streaming service is within its rights to determine which ads to run.

"In order to minimize misinformation and protect the consumer experience, Hulu's long-standing guidelines prohibit advertising that takes a stance on a controversial issue of public importance, and Hulu has always reviewed candidate ads on a case-by-case basis," added the source.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Democratic Governors Association attempted to place advertisements regarding abortion rights and gun violence on Hulu, Facebook, YouTube, Roku, NBC/Universal, ESPN, and the ABC affiliate in Philadelphia on July 15, according to a national Democratic Party official. Like Hulu, the final two are also owned by Disney.

One advertisement asserts that the recent Supreme Court ruling reversing Roe v. Wade is the product of a "coordinated Republican attack on abortion" and that the GOP intends to restrict abortions nationally. The opposing argument cites statistics on gun deaths, especially the number of children slain. It asserts that "Republicans are more committed to the gun lobby than to taking commonsense measures to protect our children."

"Make your voice heard" by voting this November, conclude both advertisements.

The advertisements appeared everywhere except on Hulu, which has over 45 million subscribers. In addition to streaming various broadcast and cable stations' programs, it generates award-winning original programming such as "The Handmaid's Tale."

Professor of election law at Loyola Marymount University Jessica Levinson stated that Hulu was legally in the clear. The 1934 Communications Act stipulates that television networks display advertisements from the main political parties, but there are no such requirements for streaming services.

"Legally speaking, Hulu may essentially choose which political advertising to run. "This is yet another instance where technology has outpaced the law," she said. "If individuals disagree with Hulu's decision, they should cancel their (subscription), not file a lawsuit." Indeed, numerous social media users tweeted with the hashtag #BoycottHulu about canceling their subscriptions. Others used the hashtag to show gratitude for not being required to view political advertisements.

This is the most recent political controversy facing Disney.

Liberals were angered earlier this year when Disney did not initially speak out against Florida's "Parental Rights in Education" law, sometimes known as the "Don't Say Gay" statute. After the law was passed and Disney faced employee protests, the business committed to helping abolish it. Conservatives were enraged, and conspiracy theorists and commentators accused Disney of having malicious intentions against children. Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida signed a bill that aims to abolish special privileges in the area of Central Florida that contains Walt Disney World Resort.

"You're a Burbank, California-based corporation, and you intend to use your economic strength to target the parents in my state? We view this as a provocation, and we will respond accordingly," DeSantis stated in April after signing the bill into law.

The conservative counterattack continues. The founder of Turning Point USA called for a boycott last week. "It's about time they realized that if they wake up, they'll go broke!" Charlie Kirk wrote to supporters through email.

Amid the controversy over LGBTQ rights in Florida, Pixar employees criticized Disney for eliminating instances of "overtly gay affection" from their films. In reaction, Disney reinstated a brief same-sex kiss that had been removed from the "Toy Story" spinoff "Lightyear."

Publish : 2022-07-27 08:40:00

Give Your Comments