Boycott campaign targets far-right media outlet

Following pressure from social media, several universities across Canada have announced they will no longer advertise on Breitbart News.

Emma Pullman, lead campaign strategist of SumOfUs, a global consumer watchdog “committed to curbing the growing power of corporations,” discovered an advert for the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Aquatic Centre on the “alt-right” website. She tweeted to the university’s Twitter account “pls stop advertising w/ Breitbart. Join dozens of academic institutions and @ubcforestry now [sic].”

UBC replied, “We’ve adjusted this campaign — our ads should no longer appear on this site.”

Breitbart is an American far-right online media outlet that gained notoriety during the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign. The Anti-Defamation League has described Breitbart as “the premier website of the ‘alt-right’ — a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists.” Steve Bannon, Breitbart‘s former executive chairman now serves as White House chief strategist and senior advisor under President Donald Trump.

“It is not surprising that Canada’s colleges and universities do not want to be associated with Breitbart’s promotion of white supremacy and hate,” Pullman said via a press release. “Simply put — Breitbart’s bigoted, racist, sexist and often violent political rhetoric is bad for business.”

SumOfUs applauded UBC’s decision. The group is currently running campaigns to have tech companies Amazon and Ottawa-based Shopify to also end their relationship with Breitbart.

On Friday, McGill University, Université de Montréal, and Université Laval were also criticized by SumOfUs when they found adverts from the universities in the website. Following pressure from Twitter, the universities announced that they will also stop advertising on Breitbart.

The four Canadian universities joined 15 universities and other academic institutions around the world that have ended their advertising ties with Breitbart in the past few months, including Loughborough University, University of Chicago and Harvard Business School Online.

According to Media Relations Director Althea Blackburn-Evans, U of T as a whole advertisements running on Breitbart, although she stated that faculty and divisions operate their ad campaigns independently.

Following the U.S. elections, over 750 companies and institutions have stopped advertising on the website. The notable example is Kellogg’s, to which Breitbart retaliated with the #DumpKelloggs campaign, telling its readers to boycott the company’s products.

“We applaud the University of British Columbia and over 750 corporations, universities and organizations that have broken ties with Breitbart,” Pullman said. “SumOfUs will continue to urge businesses and educational institutions to sever ties with Breitbart.”

Breitbart could not be reached for comment.

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