The Washington Post reported Monday that the streaming service Hulu had rejected ads about abortion and guns that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Democratic Governors Association tried to purchase in mid-July. ESPN and an ABC affiliate in Philadelphia both accepted the ads. Following the publication of the story, the hashtag #BoycottHulu began to trend on Twitter.
Today, in a reversal, Hulu said that it will now accept political ads about a wide range of issues. The decision paves the way for political groups and candidates in the midterm elections to run ads that Hulu would likely have rejected under its previous policy.
Disney-owned Hulu will now follow the same set of standards as sister networks including ABC and ESPN, a Disney spokesperson told vanity fair in a statement. “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+,” the spokesperson said. “Hulu will now accept candidate and issue advertisements covering a wide spectrum of policy positions, but reserves the right to request edits or alternative creative in alignment with industry standards.”
For many years, it was trendy for streaming services to offer programming without advertising. Netflix, in particular, made its ad-free experience central to its brand. But as more streamers introduce ad-supported plans, they are likely to face similar questions about what types of advertisements they allow. Disney+, for instance, has already signaled that it won’t accept political ads or spots for alcoholic beverages when its ad-supported plan launches later this year, Variety reported in May.