Comcast, which recently acquired NBC Universal, has quietly decided to remove advertisements promoting firearms from its cable network, and gun retailers aren’t happy about it.
A Michigan company that handles the advertising for Michigan-based Williams Gun Sight and Outfitters contacted TheBlaze regarding the change, stunned that it couldn’t re-air a commercial they played last fall due to the new policy.
John Kupiec, president of the advertising agency Canadian American Corp., told us over the phone Monday that when they recently tried to buy ad time, a Comcast representative informed them that as of February 8 of this year, the network would no longer accept advertising from companies promoting firearms or fireworks on any network, during any time period.
“They’ve been a longtime advertiser [but] they said it doesn’t matter who they are,” Kupiec related, “if they sell firearms they will not be allowed to advertise firearms on their airwaves.”
He noted that the change doesn’t just impact local companies, but business like Cabela’s, Walmart, and others.
“My company has been in the advertising business for well over 30 years, [and] we’ve never remotely run into a situation where a product or service was banned from being on the airwaves that’s legal,” he added.
Here’s the commercial that Comcast declined to air:
TheBlaze attempted to get in touch with several Comcast representatives to ask why the decision was made now, what they hope to accomplish, and whether they plan to change their scheduled programming that features guns, but only one responded.
Chris Ellis, the director of communications at Comcast Spotlight, confirmed the new policy but declined to provide any supplementary information.
“Consistent with long standing NBC policies, Comcast Spotlight has decided it will not accept new advertising for firearms or weapons moving forward,” he said in an email. “This policy aligns us with the guidelines in place at many media organizations.”
Tom Wright, the president of Williams Gun Sight Co., told TheBlaze that he thinks the change is “ridiculous.”
They’re “fine promoting strip clubs and condoms,” Wright said, but appear to have a problem airing advertisements for a legal product.
ABC 12 also interviewed Wright for the evening news. Here’s what he had to say:
Both Wright and Kupiec further noted that at almost any given time, you can flip to regular programming that features guns in a legal capacity (the Outdoor Channel, the Sportsman Channel, NBC Sports), or in a violent scene of a television show or movie.
Is Comcast planning on making changes to their scheduled programming, too, they wondered?
Before speaking with TheBlaze on Monday, Wright urged people on Facebook to speak out with their dollars:
Wright added for TheBlaze: “I don’t know whether NBC or Comcast have an agenda related to all the political activity going on, but it wouldn’t surprise me.”
The president of Williams Gun Sight and Outfitters concluded with a statement on how the change will affect his company.
“It certainly has the ability to negatively impact our business. We’ve been in business for over 85 years; we provide a service to not only the hunting and shooting community, but we’re part of a longstanding tradition here in America. I think it’s a sad state of affairs where a cable network such as Comcast would come out with such a policy.”
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