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BuzzFeed Backs Out of Advertising Agreement With RNC Over Trump: He's 'Hazardous to Our Health

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"The Trump campaign is directly opposed to the freedoms of our employees in the United States and around the world."

Photo by Hal Horowitz/Invision for Buzzfeed/AP Images

BuzzFeed has reversed course on an advertising agreement with the Republican National Committee, citing objections to presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump's rhetoric.

BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti explained in an email to staff Monday that, in April, the media company and the RNC signed an agreement to "spend a significant amount on political advertisements slated to run during the Fall election cycle." However, since Trump became the party's standard-bearer, that contract is no longer agreeable.

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"The Trump campaign is directly opposed to the freedoms of our employees in the United States and around the world and in some cases, such as his proposed ban on international travel for Muslims, would make it impossible for our employees to do their jobs," Peretti wrote, according to the letter obtained by Politico.

Peretti went on to say that BuzzFeed does not need — or expect — to agree with the "positions or values of all our advertisers." But he said the termination "will have no influence on our continuing coverage of the campaign."

The BuzzFeed founder added, "We certainly don't like to turn away revenue that funds all the important work we do across the company. However, in some cases we must make business exceptions: we don't run cigarette ads because they are hazardous to our health, and we won't accept Trump ads for the exact same reason."

BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith later told BuzzFeed News that the decision was not an editorial choice, saying, "This was Jonah’s call, and the prerogative of a publisher."

Read Peretti's email in full:

Hello BuzzFeeders,

I wanted to share with you a business decision we have made regarding the Trump for President campaign and why we made it.

In April, the Republican National Committee signed an agreement with BuzzFeed to spend a significant amount on political advertisements slated to run during the Fall election cycle. As you know, we accept advertisements from both republican and democratic candidates and we were pleased to accept this advertising order from the RNC.

Since signing this advertising deal, Donald Trump, as you know, has become the presumptive nominee of his party. The tone and substance of his campaign are unique in the history of modern US politics. Trump advocates banning Muslims from traveling to the United States, he’s threatened to limit the free press, and made offensive statements toward women, immigrants, descendants of immigrants, and foreign nationals.

Earlier today Buzzfeed informed the RNC that we would not accept Trump for President ads and that we would be terminating our agreement with them. The Trump campaign is directly opposed to the freedoms of our employees in the United States and around the world and in some cases, such as his proposed ban on international travel for Muslims, would make it impossible for our employees to do their jobs.

We don’t need to and do not expect to agree with the positions or values of all our advertisers. And as you know, there is a wall between our business and editorial operations. This decision to cancel this ad buy will have no influence on our continuing coverage of the campaign.

We certainly don’t like to turn away revenue that funds all the important work we do across the company. However, in some cases we must make business exceptions: we don’t run cigarette ads because they are hazardous to our health, and we won’t accept Trump ads for the exact same reason.

Thanks,

Jonah

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