A Donald Trump-hating Twitter user – who is too scared to reveal his true identity because he says he fears backlash from Trump supporters – is attempting to destroy a leading conservative news site with a coordinated campaign attacking its advertisers and claiming it’s “racist.”
The anonymous Twitter user, known as Sleeping Giants, is attempting to take down Breitbart News. It takes screenshots of advertisements on Breitbart and then harasses companies that own the ads, demanding that they blacklist the news site.
And several high-profile U.S. companies are taking the bait.
Ironically, while Sleeping Giants accuses Breitbart of being a “racist” site, the Twitter account features raised black fists that resemble those used in 1969 posters of the Black Panther Party. A similar fist, though typically white, was used to symbolize white power, and another red version represented leftist Autonnomist Marxism.
The blog DigiDay says, “The creator of the account said he would prefer to remain anonymous to avoid being harassed by Trump supporters on the internet. He said he started the account because fake news and disinformation, are, in his opinion, two of the reasons why the election turned out in favor of Trump.”
The creator of Sleeping Giants told the blog, “The biggest way that this disinformation will continue is ad revenue, just like any news source. Beyond really wanting to stop this nonsense, this effort was really born out of the need to inform advertisers about the kind of material that they’re sponsoring. This isn’t supposed to be a boycotting effort as much as an information effort.”
Sleeping Giants, a new Twitter handle that was launched in November, offers this description of its activities: “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.”
As of Thursday, Sleeping Giants followed only 23 Twitter users – some of whom are actively helping Sleeping Giants publicize its campaign against Breitbart. And nearly all are linked directly to President Obama, left-leaning publications or far-left causes.
The complete list includes:
- David Plouffe, political strategist and 2008 presidential campaign manager for President Obama
- Dan Pfeiffer, former senior adviser for President Obama
- Jon Favreau, Obama’s chief speechwriter
- Jon Lovett, Obama speechwriter who worked three years at the White House drafting speeches on public policy
- Michael Skolnik, official surrogate for President Obama during the 2012 re-election campaign
- Tommy Vietor, Obama’s former national security spokesman
- Sarah Silverman, an actress and comedian who spoke at the Democratic National Convention in support of Hillary Clinton
- Nicholas Reville, founder of PCCulture.org, an organization that lists leftist billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Institute among its “major funders”
- Shannon Coulter, a tech and media marketing specialist who boycotted the Ivanka Trump Collection fashion line and demanded that Macy’s, Nordstrom, Amazon, Lord & Taylor, Marshalls and Zappos stop selling Ivanka’s clothing
- Rachel Maddow, TV host of MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show”
- Michael Moore, leftist activist and filmmaker who backed the presidential campaigns of both Obama and Hillary
- Janine Gibson, editor in chief of BuzzFeed UK
- Brian Stelter, a CNN host who has attacked Trump for what he said are “dangerous” lies about a “rigged” election and dismissed Hillary health concerns as “conspiracy theories online promoted by conservative websites”
- Stephen Colbert, “The Late Show” host, a Democrat who has been accused of having a deeply liberal bent that is “unremittingly hostile to Republicans”
- Lucia Moses, senior editor at DigiDay, a marketing blog that is promoting the Sleeping Giants campaign. Moses has accused ad networks of funding “fake news” online
- Ana Marie Cox, MTV news correspondent, contributor to the left-leaning Daily Beast and former editor at Time and Mother Jones
- Mike Cagney, former Wells Fargo derivatives trader and founder and CEO of online lender SoFi
- Joshua Green, national correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek and Bloomberg Politics
- Nandini Jammi, head of growth at ProdPad, a company that sells product management software
- Change the Convo, a Twitter account that condemns conservative news sites – such as Breitbart, Daily Caller, Fox News, The Blaze, RushLimbaugh.com, American Thinker and others – and accuses their advertisers of supporting “hate speech”
- Stop Funding Hate, a Twitter handle that says it aims to “take on the divisive hate campaigns of the Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express”
- Josh Mandel, a marketing director for ADHD, which is housed under the Los Angeles-based All Def Digital, “a media company for urban-centric youth culture.” In June, All Def Digital tweeted a video tribute to President Obama titled, “Why we’ll miss Barack Obama.” The company has also praised Michelle Obama and posted a video admiring her derriere, “You see Michelle Obama’s booty?”
- Steve Silberman, author of “NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity”
As of Thursday, Sleeping Giants was targeting the following companies, demanding that they ban their ads from appearing on Breitbart: American Express, LG, Jeep, Zillow, Epson, Revlon, Dollar General, Kohl’s, Gap, Ralph Lauren, Sprint, Guitar Center, Famous Footwear, PayPal, Frontgate, Citi, Burlington Coat Factory, WebMD, Canon, SiriusXM, Vistaprint, Walgreens, BMW, Zulily, Hotels.com, Kia, Pottery Barn, Volvo, Toys “R” Us, NFL, American Legion, Purina, Samsung, Whole Foods, T-Mobile, Staples and dozens more.
As WND reported, Breitbart was one of many so-called “fake news” websites recently targeted by the left in a major “hit list” designed to discredit legitimate news organizations. WND found a leftist, Trump-bashing assistant professor in Massachusetts who specialized in “fat studies” was behind that campaign. The assistant professor, who publicly bashed Trump as “sexist, racist, homophobic, and xenophobic,” has only had her position teaching journalism at Merrimack College for 15 months. Mainstream media outlets such as the Los Angeles Times circulated her list without offering any details concerning her qualifications or apparent history of left-leaning bias.
The following are some major companies that have committed to blackslisting Breitbart.
Kellogg’s, the famous food manufacturer, has censored Breitbart.com, pulling ads from the website because, it says the news organization’s 45 million conservative readers are not “aligned with our values as a company.” The news site is formerly run by President-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Some of Kellogg’s popular brands include JIF peanut butter, Pringles, Eggo waffles, Rice Krispies treats, Kellogg’s To Go breakfast shakes, Nutri-Grain breakfast bars and the following cereals: Frosted Mini-Wheats, Corn Pops, Frosted Flakes, Raisin Bran, Special K, Apple Jacks, Froot Loops, Honey Smacks, All-Bran, Crispix, Krave, Smorz, Smart Start, Mueslix and Cracklin’ Oat Bran, among others.
“We regularly work with our media-buying partners to ensure our ads do not appear on sites that aren’t aligned with our values as a company,” said Kellogg’s flak Kris Charles, Breitbart reported. “We recently reviewed the list of sites where our ads can be placed and decided to discontinue advertising on Breitbart.com. We are working to remove ads from that site.”
Breitbart said the food manufacturer never offered any examples of how its readership failed to align with Kellogg’s values.
“The decision by Kellogg’s … will make virtually no revenue impact on Breitbart.com,” the news organization wrote. “It does, however, represent an escalation in the war by leftist companies like Target and Allstate against conservative customers whose values propelled Donald Trump into the White House.”
Breitbart also said the decision “appears to be one more example of an out-of-touch corporation embracing false left-wing narratives used to cynically smear the hard working Americans that populate this nation’s heartland.”
Breitbart News Editor in Chief Alexander Marlow called for a boycott of Kellogg’s, saying the company’s “war” against the news site shows its “cowardice” and “bigotry”:
“Breitbart News is the largest platform for pro-family content anywhere on the Internet. We are fearless advocates for traditional American values, perhaps most important among them is freedom of speech, or our motto ‘more voices, not less.’ For Kellogg’s, an American brand, to blacklist Breitbart News in order to placate left-wing totalitarians is a disgraceful act of cowardice. They insult our incredibly diverse staff and spit in the face of our 45,000,000 highly engaged, highly perceptive, highly loyal readers, many of whom are Kellogg’s customers. Boycotting Breitbart News for presenting mainstream American ideas is an act of discrimination and intense prejudice. If you serve Kellogg’s products to your family, you are serving up bigotry at your breakfast table.”
Breitbart urges conservatives to join its boycott and sign the #DumpKelloggs petition.
“Kellogg’s has shown its contempt for Breitbart’s 45 million readers and for the main street American values that they hold dear,” said Breitbart President and CEO Larry Solov. “Pulling its advertising from Breitbart News is a decidedly cynical and un-American act. The only sensible response is to join together and boycott Kellogg’s products in protest.”
Welch’s, a company known for its juices and jams, confirmed it is removing its ads from Breitbart Wednesday.
Facebook user Mary Dibbern had complained to the company, writing: “Welch’s is advertising on the Breitbart site. I will boycott all Welch’s products, plus post a photo of the ads onto my FB and Twitter accounts if Welch’s does not stop giving Breitbart their advertising business.”
Welch’s responded to the complaint: “Mary, we assure you that we are taking the necessay steps to remove all Welch’s content from this site, and others like it. Thank you for reaching out.”
Pharmaceutical manufacturer Novo Nordisk has stated on Twitter that it pulled at least one advertisement on Breitbart, USA Today reported.
“Danish biopharma Novo Nordisk pulled at least one ad appearing on the controversial website Breitbart this week after social media users alerted the company that one of its products was being marketed alongside an article about how women are ‘screwing up the internet for men,’” the BioPharmaDive blog wrote.
When Sleeping Giants brought the ad to the company’s attention, it pressured Novo Nordisk to remove its advertisements from Breitbart and promised a “retweet” that would be “good for business” if it complied with the request.
Novo Nordisk said it would “take care of” the ad and later confirmed that it had removed it.
Insurance provider Allstate says it is pulling ads from Breitbart, according to Nicholas Reville, founder of PCCulture.org, an organization that lists leftist billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Institute among its “major funders.”
On Nov. 21, Reville tweeted to Allstate, “Want to help reduce Breitbart revenue, staff, influence? Tweet at their advertisers.” He included an image of a direct message sent to him by Allstate, which stated:
“Thanks! We value the questions and feedback we receive. We appreciate your concern regarding our advertising appearing on the website Breitbart News. Unfortunately, the nature of internet media buys is such that we are not always able to receive full disclosure with regards to all of the websites on which our advertising may run. The site Breitbart News was not excluded from one of our network buys in this instance, but will be in the future. We will take your thoughts into consideration …”
Warby Parker, a maker of prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses, has said it will ban its ads from appearing on Breitbart, according to DigiDay.
“Warby Parker does not buy advertising from Breitbart News Network directly,” a Warby spokeswoman told the site. “If one of our ads appears on a Breitbart site, it’s due to a sale through third-party ad networks or ad exchanges. We are looking into actively blocking our ads from appearing on Brietbart News Network. As a company, we are committed to building a diverse and inclusive community that treats everyone with respect and dignity, and it’s important to us that our advertisements appear on sites that believe in those same values.”
San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo has indicated it, too, has pulled ads displayed on Breitbart, the Associated Press reported.
On Nov. 22, Sleeping Giants tweeted the San Diego Zoo, asking, “Can you confirm that you have dropped Breitbart from your media plan? Let us know!”
The San Diego Zoo replied a day later: “We can confirm that our media buyer is removing the site from our network as we speak.”
AppNexus Inc., a digital ad firm, banned Breitbart from using its ad-service, according to Bloomberg.
“The digital ad firm decided the publication had breached a policy against content that incites violence,” Bloomberg reported.
AppNexus spokesman Joshua Zeitz said, “We did a human audit of Breitbart and determined there were enough articles and headlines that cross that line, either using coded or overt language.”
Zeitz also claimed Breitbart isn’t being targeted for its conservative bent.
“This blacklist was solely about hate speech violation,” he said.
Bloomberg reported that AppNexus is secnod to Google in the ad serving market for publishers.
As of Thursday, Sleeping Giants claims other companies have dropped advertising on Breitbart, including:
- AAA SoCal
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- Aqua Carpatica
- Blue Sound Hifi
- Chasing Fireflies
- Conrad CH
- El Torito
- Finlandia Cheese
- Harry Rosen Inc.
- Madison Reed
- MM Lafleur
- Mod Cloth
- Monogram Appliances
- MVMT watches
- One Month
- Paperless Post
- Post Schweiz
- Rapid Release Technology
- Saddleback Bags
- The Good Chocolate
- The Land of Nod
- The Webby Awards
- Touch of Modern
- U.S. Bank
- Udi’s Gluten Free
- Vanguard Group