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

Just Posted

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of two men in Anahim Lake

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

VIDEO: Researchers rely on drones to survey aftermath of B.C. wildfires

UBC researchers are using aerial drones to study the historic 2017 wildfires in the province

Over thirteen percent of Bella Coola residents rely on Food Bank

Demand for Christmas Hampers up by 45 families this year

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

‘I fell asleep’ admits second mate in Nathan E. Stewart fuel spill

The tug spilled more than 100,000 litres of diesel off B.C.’s northern coast

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of sexual harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Accused B.C. drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

Most Read