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Hulu Blocks Democrats' Political Ads About Abortion And Gun Control

By Gina Florio··  3 min read
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The midterms are coming up, which means both political parties are casting their nets wide in order to recruit more people to vote for their candidates. Hulu has recently come under fire for refusing to run ads from Democrats on popular political issues.

Only recently has TV become so political, and the Democrats are expressing anger and frustration at the popular streaming service Hulu for not running some of their advertisements. Hulu is known for having a policy that prevents them from running content that is seen as controversial, and since it's a digital provider, it doesn't have to adhere to the Communications Act of 1934, which states that broadcast television networks must provide politicians equal access to viewers.

Hulu Blocks Democrats' Political Ads about Abortion and Gun Control

On July 15, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Governors Association, and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee attempted to purchase ads with Hulu that were about abortion and gun control. They also purchased ads on a Disney-affiliated ABC network in Philadelphia and ESPN. These two networks ran the ads while Hulu didn't.

This apparently isn't the first time that Hulu has declined to run ads for Democratic candidates that talk about these touchy subjects. Suraj Patel, a Democratic candidate for Congress in New York City, released a public letter of protest saying that a representative from Hulu informed him of an "unwritten Hulu policy" that wouldn't allow ads to run that were too "sensitive." Patel's ad included footage from the January 6 incident at the Capitol and information on gun violence.

"To not discuss these topics in my campaign ad is to not address the most important issues facing the United States," Patel wrote in the letter. "A democracy only functions with open debate, shared facts and an informed electorate. We are at an absolutely critical time in our nation's history. How are voters supposed to make informed choices if their candidates cannot talk about the most important issues of the day?"

"The issues of abortion, guns, climate change, and our democracy are not topics to be discussed in quite hushed speech outside of the reach of the electorate. These are topics the American people expect to hear from their leaders, and they are issues that are going to define the next several decades. Americans deserve to know their leaders stand on them."

Patel said the ad was allowed to finally run after he replaced the term "climate change" with "democracy" and he instead put footage of former president Donald Trump where there was footage of the January 6 riots.

No representative from Hulu has responded to these incidents, but a person familiar with Hulu's policies spoke anonymously and said the company has a policy that it doesn't air ads that take a position on a controversial issue, whether or not it's related to politics.

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