Breitbart News prompts more advertisers, including BMW and T-Mobile parent, to yank ads

The Breitbart News Network has long prided itself on running inflammatory articles designed to trigger sensitive liberals. But since the election of Donald Trump, the conservative media company has also managed to trigger some of its advertisers, which have yanked their ads from the irreverent site in objection to its content.

After recent decisions by companies such as the Kellogg Co. and Allstate to pull their ads, a number of German companies have followed suit, including BMW, Deutsche Telekom and the restaurant chain Vapiano.

Deutsche Telekom is the parent company of wireless carrier T-Mobile. 

A spokesman for BMW of North America said that the carmaker doesn’t advertise on Breitbart directly and only individuals who specifically expressed an interest in the brand and then visited the Breitbart site would have received an ad from BMW.   

“We continuously review sites where individually targeted ads are available and Breitbart is no longer among them,” the company said in a statement.

Deutsche Telekom said in a separate statement that “we have had our advertising removed from [Breitbart] and have block listed them, to ensure that no further Deutsche Telekom ads appear there. Deutsche Telekom stands for values such as tolerance and openness and we do not condone any discriminatory acts or comments.”

Vapiano said in a statement that the attitudes expressed by Breitbart News stand “in contrast to Vapiano’s values such as openness and tolerance.” 

Their decisions come as Breitbart, which supported Trump in his successful bid for the U.S. presidency, is aiming to expand its operations into Germany as the country prepares for elections next year amid high tensions over the migrant crisis. Breitbart has been extremely critical of Chancellor Angela Merkel and her open-door policy toward refugees.

Some advertisers have stated that they didn’t know that their ads were appearing on Breitbart, and that they only discovered it after receiving screenshots from consumers and Twitter users. Many companies rely on third-party ad networks and exchanges to place their ads on sites. As a result, they aren’t always aware of where their ads end up appearing.

In recent weeks, a number of anti-Breitbart efforts have emerged on Twitter — including the account Sleeping Giants and the German hashtag #KeinGeldFuerRechts (No Money for the Right) — that are aiming to identify companies whose ads appear on Breitbart and to pressure them into boycotting the site. 

Sleeping Giants has said that Breitbart is a fake news site that engages in racist rhetoric. But Breitbart disputes both claims, saying that left-wing activists are intolerant of conservative views and are attempting to censor them.

Breitbart has also stated that advertisers would be unwise to boycott the site because it has a loyal following of 45 million readers. The news site didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Last week, Breitbart targeted Kellogg for revenge by launching a boycott petition and #DumpKelloggs social media campaign. It has also run critical articles about the W.K. Kellogg Foundation — the charitable organization created by the company’s founder — highlighting its support of Fidel Castro, George Soros and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Shares of Kellogg fell about 2% in the days after the #DumpKelloggs launch but have since recovered. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

david.ng@latimes.com

Twitter: @DavidNgLAT


UPDATES:

Dec. 9, 12:41 p.m.: This article was updated with a comment from Vapiano.

Dec. 8, 9:55 a.m.: This article was updated with comments from BMW and Deutsche Telekom.

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
59°