The ads will likely include hot-button midterm subjects like gun control and abortion rights.
Disney announced on Wednesday that it changed Hulu’s policies to allow political issue ads to run on the streaming service after it was threatened with boycotts for initially refusing to air such commercials.
“After a thorough review of ad policies across its linear networks and streaming platforms over the last few months, Disney is now aligning Hulu’s political advertising policies to be consistent with the company’s general entertainment and sports cable networks and ESPN+,” Disney said in a statement.
The statement added that Hulu will now accept both candidate and issue advertising addressing a “wide spectrum of policy positions.” Disney also maintained that it “reserves the right to request edits or alternative creative, in alignment with industry standards.”
Earlier this week, The Washington Post published an article where representatives from The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Democratic Governors Association said their attempts to air ads about gun control, abortion, and the Jan. 6 insurrection were blocked by Hulu. Those same ads, however, were run by other Disney-owned companies like ESPN and local ABC affiliates.
Hulu had the power to reject those ads because, as a digital provider, it is not beholden to the Communications Act of 1934, which requires broadcasters to air equal access to political advertising.
The Call For Political Issue Advertising
Still, Democrats argued the service has a responsibility to air political messaging crucial to the 2022 midterm elections.
“Hulu’s censorship of the truth is outrageous, offensive, and another step down a dangerous path for our country,” the executive directors of the three aforementioned committees, Christie Roberts, Tim Persico and Noam Lee, told The Post.
“Voters have the right to know the facts about MAGA Republicans’ agenda on issues like abortion — and Hulu is doing a huge disservice to the American people by blocking voters from learning the truth about the GOP record or denying these issues from even being discussed,” they continued.
Suraj Patel, a candidate out of New York, wrote an open letter claiming his team was told by Hulu representatives that the service had an “unwritten Hulu policy” to censor ads covering topics that were too “sensitive” for the platform. Another source echoed that claim, telling The Post that Hulu does not allow commercials about any controversial subject, political or not.
Patel told Hulu their policy had “national implications,” as it censored some of “the most important issues facing the United States.”
Those who agreed with Patel and other Democratic leaders used the hashtag #BoycottHulu to express their discontent. It trended on Twitter repeatedly throughout the week, leading to Disney’s reversal on Wednesday.
The decision does not mean Disney has plans to run political advertising on all of its streaming services. The company has already stated that Disney+ will not accept political ads or commercials for alcohol when an ad-supported tier of the platform hits the market later this year.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Axios) (Variety)
Shane Dawson Says Cancellation Felt Planned By The Universe
The YouTuber said that by being forced to take a digital break, he had a chance to step back and “see what the bigger purpose is.”
Dawson Speaks Out
Two years after facing intense backlash online, YouTuber Shane Dawson said he found a positive side to being “canceled.”
In the summer of 2020, Dawson faced intense scrutiny after people resurfaced his old controversial videos where he wore blackface, made racist jokes, and said inappropriate remarks about children. He lost a slew of subscribers as a result and stepped away from YouTube for over a year following the scandal.
Dawson has since returned to posting, sharing long-form content every few months on his channel to millions of viewers, though his audience is not nearly as large as it was before the backlash. He also started a podcast earlier this year.
While speaking on Perez Hilton’s podcast this week, Dawson said his cancellation actually came at a time when he needed to rethink his life online.
“I really think the universe and God, or whatever, really planned it this way because I was at a point before I got canceled where I didn’t wanna be around anymore,” Dawson said. “I was so burnt out.”
“Wait, you were so burnt out that you were depressed and suicidal?” Hilton followed up. “Just from overworking?”
“Well it wasn’t just from overworking,” Dawson added. “It was, well, I’m a workaholic.”
Cancelation “Felt Very Designed”
Dawson went on to explain that being a workaholic opened the doors for other issues, like fearing he will lose his success, getting stressed about his online reputation, worrying about spending enough time with family, and negative thoughts about his body image. As all this started to take a toll on him, he started therapy. Not long after, he started dealing with his 2020 controversies.
“Oddly enough, two months after I started therapy, maybe even sooner, I got canceled,” Dawson said. “And it was like, ‘oh.’ That felt very designed to me, by something.”
“Because I was like, okay, she’s learning about everything, all my issues, all this, all that, and my biggest fear is being canceled again and it happened,” he continued. “So now I can see what the bigger purpose is.”
Now he says he is grateful to be at a point where he is not constantly worried about making content and pleasing people. Dawson said that earlier in his career, his need to be liked was so severe that he would message people who said negative things about him online in an effort to change their minds.
“It’s always that thing where like, I want people that hate me to like me. Which is toxic,” Dawson explained. “Like a hater would say something, and I’ll DM them, this is something I’d do years ago, I’d DM them and talk to them and then, ‘oh, they like me now!’ It was dark.”
Monica Lewinsky Asks Beyoncé to Change “Partition” Lyric Amid “Renaissance” Edits
The 2013 song includes the phrase “he Monica Lewinsky’d all on my gown.”
Monica Lewinsky’s Request
Monica Lewinsky suggested that Beyoncé remove a lyric from her 2013 song “Partition” that references the infamous scandal involving the former White House intern and then-President Bill Clinton.
The request came as Beyoncé’s representatives confirmed she would be removing an ableist lyric from a track off her latest album “Renaissance.” The song “Heated” used the word “spaz,” which many disability advocates have condemned as an offensive slur.
Earlier this year, Lizzo removed the same word from her song “Grrrls” after facing backlash. On Monday, a spokesperson for Beyoncé said that while the word was “not used intentionally in a harmful way,” it “will be replaced.”
Lewinsky shared that news Monday on Twitter and added, “uhmm, while we’re at it… #Partition.”
In “Partition,” the Grammy winner sings the phrase “he Monica Lewinsky’d all on my gown.”
Response From the Beyhive
The Beyhive was quick to call Lewinsky out for her plea, arguing that the song has been out for nearly a decade and she could have brought her complaint up sooner. Some said she was in no place to be upset with the lyric as she has the phrase “rap song muse” in her Twitter bio.
Lewinsky issued replies to many of these complaints on Tuesday, saying this is not the first time she publicly addressed “Partition,” and the numerous other songs referencing her. Regarding her Twitter bio, she said she uses humor to cope with the public scandal.
When people continued to accuse her of singling out Beyoncé when there are dozens of artists who have written similar lyrics, Lewinsky said, “when articles about the 125+ other artists changing lyrics to a song cross my TL, i promise i’ll do the same.”
Lewinsky’s request prompted frustration from people who felt that by changing the ableist lyric in “Heated,” Beyoncé inadvertently opened a door for people to pressure her into tweaking other songs.
“Heated” is not the only track off of “Renaissance” that has had to return to the cutting room since the album’s release. Beyoncé also removed an interpolation of the Kelis song “Milkshake” after Kelis spoke out against its use and called it “theft.”
Neither Beyoncé nor her team has publicly responded to Lewinksy. In a tweet, Lewinsky said she had not privately reached out to the singer to sort the issue behind closed doors.
See what others are saying: (People) (Entertainment Weekly) (USA Today)
Chris Rock Addresses Oscars Slap After Will Smith’s Apology Video
In his latest statement, Smith said his “behavior was unacceptable.”
Chris Rock Talks Oscars
Just hours after Will Smith posted an apology video regarding the infamous Oscars slap, Chris Rock addressed the incident during a show in Atlanta.
“Everybody is trying to be a fucking victim. If everybody claims to be a victim, then nobody will hear the real victims,” Rock said during a Friday show, via People. “Even me getting smacked by Suge Smith … I went to work the next day, I got kids.” (Rock’s “Suge Smith” joke was likely a reference to Suge Knight, the CEO of Death Row Records who is currently in jail over a deadly hit and run.)
“Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face,” the comedian reportedly continued.
Rock has been sprinkling remarks about the slap into some of his recent sets over the last couple of weeks.
The controversy unfolded during the 94th Academy Awards when Rock was presenting the statue for Best Documentary. He made a quip about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Smith then walked onto the stage and slapped Rock. Upon returning to his seat, he shouted, “leave my wife’s name out your fucking mouth.” Less than one hour later, he won the Best Actor Oscar for his work in “King Richard.”
Within the following days, Smith issued an apology and resigned from the Academy. The organization also banned the actor from attending any of its events for the next decade.
Will Smith Posts Apology
Smith has held a low profile since the Oscars, but made a return to the public eye on Friday by posting a YouTube video titled “It’s been a minute…” Smith claimed he has reached out to Rock, but the stand-up star said he is not ready to talk it out just yet.
“I apologize to you,” Smith said in the video. “My behavior was unacceptable, and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
“There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment,” the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” actor continued. “There is no part of me that thinks that is the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”
Smith also apologized to Rock’s family, as well as his own, for dragging them into controversy and hurting them with his actions.
Smith also clarified that Pinkett Smith had no influence over his decision to slap Rock on stage.
“I made a choice on my own,” he said. “Jada had nothing to do with it.”