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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Disney changes Hulu policy to accept political ads after backlash

Walt Disney Co. has changed Hulu's policy on accepting issue-based political advertising.   (Tribune News Service )
By Ryan Faughnder Tribune News Service

Walt Disney Co. has changed Hulu’s policy on accepting issue-based political advertising, following a backlash from Democrats after the streaming service rejected commercials about abortion and guns.

Hulu had a longstanding policy against running ads focused on controversial topics, though the company did run spots about individual candidates.

Disney said in a Wednesday statement that it had decided to expand Hulu’s political advertising guidelines after “a thorough review of ad policies across its linear networks and streaming platforms over the last few months.”

“Disney is now aligning Hulu’s political advertising policies to be consistent with the company’s general entertainment and sports cable networks and ESPN+,” the company said.

“Hulu will now accept candidate and issue advertisements covering a wide spectrum of policy positions, but reserves the right to request edits or alternative creative, in alignment with industry standards.”

The purpose of the stance against running issue-based political messaging, according to a person close to the company, was to “minimize misinformation and to protect the consumer experience.”

But the decision against airing the ads angered Democrats, who complained that Disney was censoring their views on key topics, which happen to be core campaign talking points for upcoming elections, particularly after the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court.

“Hulu’s censorship of the truth is outrageous, offensive, and another step down a dangerous path for our country,” said leaders of the Democrats’ Senate and congressional campaign committees and gubernatorial association in a statement.

“Voters have the right to know the facts about MAGA 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.”

Disney has been a red-hot potato for politicians, both liberal and conservative, in recent months.