A global social movement called Sleeping Giants recently set up an Australian account to call out businesses with ads appearing on US-based news site Breitbart.
However, it is also keeping an eye out for hate speech in Australia’s mainstream media, and will try to deny advertising revenue to those sites and publications.
Breitbart News Network is a 10-year old website of which former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is the executive chairman. It supports Donald Trump and is considered ultra-conservative. Sleeping Giants calls it “inflammatory” and accuses Breitbart of spreading and normalising hate speech.
“The members of the Sleeping Giants network all work anonymously, we interact via social media and adhere to the common goal to stop racist, sexist, bigotry and hate speech in the media by stopping its ad dollars,” Sleeping Giants Oz said.
So far 2,760 businesses have agreed to block Breitbart from their advertising buy, but Sleeping Giants believes the news site can survive on wealthy patrons. While Sleeping Giants can’t quantify their impact, their campaigns do have real-world consequences.
Australian businesses such as TPG, Medibank, Optus, Bupa, Bendigo Bank and Domain Group (owned by Fairfax Media) have already been alerted and agreed to remove their ads.
“We do not support the placement of our advertising alongside harmful or inappropriate material,” an Optus spokeswoman said. “We removed our advertising from this site following feedback from some of our customers.”