Consumer Activist Group Targets Ad Revenue of Bigoted, Misogynistic Websites

Activist group Sleeping Giants is helping consumers urge advertisers to say no to hate

boycott hate speech

Photoillustration by Dan Redding

A new group of consumer activists has discovered a way to battle bigoted or ‘fake’ news organizations: by nicely asking advertisers not to sponsor hate. The group is called Sleeping Giants, whose Twitter account reads, “We are trying to stop racist websites by stopping their ad dollars. Many companies don’t even know it’s happening. It’s time to tell them.”

Sleeping Giants encourages regular Twitter users to screenshot advertisements on, then “tweet the screenshot to the [advertiser] with a polite, non-offensive note to notify them of the placement.” Breitbart has published headlines including ‘Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?’ and ‘Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive And Crazy’ (Google them if you want; I won’t link to them here). Responding to criticism of the latter, misogynistic headline, Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos said, “sorry, no offense, but it’s true!”

The New York Times reported on Sleeping Giants today in an op-ed piece titled How to Destroy the Business Model of Breitbart and Fake News. The Times also described the ways an advertiser can control where its ads appear: “A company can block a specific site like Breitbart News from its ad buy. Or it might pick a “white list” of sites that align with its values.”

The Times op-ed is the lattest battle in a war between establishment news media and its right-wing opponents. Breitbart retaliated with its own front-page headline attacking the Times.

Below is one example of a Twitter user calling out a company who advertises on Breitbart, in conjuction with Sleeping Giants. Looks like this tactic is effective.

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