Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean has called attention to a new plan to cripple Breitbart News by promoting an advertising boycott. This past weekend, Dean tweeted a New York Times article entitled “How to Destroy the Business Model of Breitbart and Fake News” and encouraged his followers to share it. The Times article describes how Twitter group Sleeping Giants have been taking screen shots of various advertisements that appear next to hate speech on Breitbart. The group then shares the screen shots in an attempt to shame the companies running the ads, hoping that they will pull their ad dollars from the conservative website.
Wow. That's, uh...Wow. https://t.co/54VuRpRvns— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) January 10, 2017
“We are trying to stop racist websites by stopping their ad dollars,” Sleeping Giants' bio reads. “Many companies don’t even know it’s happening. It’s time to tell them.” The group's Twitter profile encourages its followers to contribute by taking their own screenshots of ads appearing next to hate speech headlines. “We’re focused on Breitbart News right now because they’re the biggest fish,” an anonymous founder of Sleeping Giants told the Times, adding that eventually the group intends to target other hate speech sites.
Leading advertising company AppNexus pulled their ads from Breitbart in November of last year, citing a violation of their hate speech rules. Kellogg's became one of the first large corporations to pull their advertisements from the website, and conservatives threatened their own boycott against Kellogg's in retaliation. However, the company has received a strong show of support from the public.
Sleeping Giants have reported that 500 advertisers, including 3M, Patagonia, Zappos, and Warby Parker have now pulled their ads from the site.