UBC pulls ads from alt-right news outlet in U.S.

University of Montreal also removes advertising from Breitbart News

Two Canadian universities are among the organizations that have removed advertisements from an ultra-conservative news website formerly headed by a top adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump.

The move is part of a campaign spearheaded by Sleeping Giants, an American activist group, aimed at diverting advertising dollars from Breitbart News, a far-right media outlet that came under fire during the 2016 presidential race.

“Following the U.S. election, folks around the world are looking for ways to show our support and register our outrage at the rise of the extreme far right,” said Emma Pullman of SumOfUs, which is collaborating with Sleeping Giants to target Canadian organizations.

The University of British Columbia and the University of Montreal pulled ads in recent weeks after they became aware that their promotional material was appearing on the site.

“It wasn’t the University of Montreal that chose to buy advertising on the site,” spokeswoman Genevieve Omeara said in French.

“It’s programmed publicity that is placed automatically on certain websites. We took precautions to ensure it would no longer happen.”

Susan Danard of the University of British Columbia said the school’s marketing policy normally excludes extreme political sites, but that its advertising agency had inadvertently included Breitbart to promote its new swimming pool.

“It just got accidentally on their list and when we got aware of that we asked them to pull it, which they did,” Danard said.

“I think the cost was under a dollar. It would have been pennies because it was just a localized digital ad.”

Steve Bannon, a former Breitbart News executive who is a senior adviser to Trump, has promoted the site as a champion for the so-called alt-right, a U.S.-based offshoot of conservatism that combines elements of racism, white nationalism and populism.

Breitbart couldn’t be reached for comment.

It encouraged a boycott of Kellogg’s products last month after the cereal maker said it would no longer advertise on the site, citing its “values” in explaining the decision. Breitbart said the decision by Kellogg’s was tantamount to “economic censorship of mainstream conservative political discourse” and “as un-American as it gets.”

SumOfUs describes itself on its website as “a community of people from around the world committed to curbing the growing power of corporations.” It says it consists of more than 12 million people “stopping big corporations from behaving badly.”

Pullman, the organization’s lead campaign strategist who is based in Vancouver, said the group’s strategy is multi-faceted.

“It’s symbolic, but it’s also really real and tangible. Breitbart relies on advertising dollars to fund the website,” she added.

“If you can interrupt its flow of advertising dollars you can actually interrupt its ability to globally expand, which the company has said it would like to do.”

Sleeping Giant says so far 750 advertisers around the world, including some in Canada, have blocked Breitbart from their media plan.

Geordon Omand, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Quadriplegic Saanich man seeks continuity of home care from Island Health

Island Health took over home care services in November

Panthers wrap up regular season with playoff preview

Peninsula faces off against Westshore Friday night before opening playoffs Monday

Two new hybrid BC Ferries ships christened with new names in Victoria ceremony

Island Aurora and Island Discovery will service Gulf Island and North Island routes

Lawyer says substitute teacher fought sexual urges for 30 years

Former Victoria badminton coach Harry Charles Sadd to be sentenced for sexual abuse of boys

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

POLL: Do you support the proposed changes for ICBC?

Tuesday’s provincial budget predicted a shift from shortfall to surplus in wake… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

First case of COVID-19 in B.C. has fully recovered, health officer says

Three other cases are symptom-free and expected to test negative soon

Most Read