After weeks of mounting pressure from Democrats, Hulu will begin accepting political issue and candidate ads, according to a new report from Axios on Wednesday.
Disney, a majority owner of Hulu, made the decision amid a controversy over the streaming platform’s decision to ban ads discussing abortion, gun reform, climate change, and other issues central to the Democratic Party’s midterm agenda.
“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 to Axios on Wednesday.
The fight went public this week after the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Democratic Governors Association revealed that Hulu rejected campaign ads centered on hot-button issues like gun rights. Cable, broadcast, and other social media platforms ran the ads, but Hulu refused due to “content related” problems. The controversy inspired the #boycottHulu hashtag across social media.
Still, Disney is withholding the right to request the campaigns make certain edits to ads “in alignment with industry standards.”
The Democrats’ back and forth with Hulu boiled over into national politics this week. But a progressive New York congressional candidate — Suraj Patel — was the first to make Hulu’s “unwritten” sensitivity policy public earlier this month.
In a letter to Hulu and Disney CEOs, Patel called on the companies to overturn the ad content policies, writing, “We are at an absolutely critical time in our nation’s history.” He continued, “How are voters supposed to make informed choices if their candidates cannot talk about the most important issues of the day?”