Novo Nordisk A/S Yanks Ads Off of Conservative Site Founded by New Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
The drug company confirmed it had pulled its advertising from the site to Sleeping Giants, an advocacy organization with a mission to disrupt advertising on websites that it dubs racist. Breitbart, a conservative news site, has been linked to the alt-right movement, which has elements of white nationalism, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. In July, the SPLC said Bannon called the news site the “platform for the alt-right.” The SPLC also criticized Bannon’s appointment as chief adviser to Trump, saying his presence will “make a mockery” of Trump’s post-election pledge to “bind the wounds of division’ in our country.”
The mission of Sleeping Giants is to alert companies that are, knowingly or unknowingly, advertising on Breitbart and calling for them to remove their ads. The group tweets to companies and other organizations telling them they are advertising on “the racist, sexist, anti-Semitic website.” One of the companies they reached out to was Novo Nordisk, best known for its diabetes medications. On Nov. 22 Novo Nordisk confirmed with Sleeping Giants that it had pulled its ads from Breitbart.
From the Twitter exchange, it seems that Novo Nordisk was unaware its ads were appearing on Breitbart. The Danish drugmaker thanked both Sleeping Giants and another user with the handle Frank the Fink for informing them about the ads. Later that day, Novo Nordisk confirmed it had pulled its ads from Breitbart. So far, Sleeping Giants has facilitated about a dozen companies pulling ads from Breitbart, StatNews reported this morning in a roundup of holiday news. Last week, AppNexus Inc., another digital advertising service, barred Breitbart from using its advertising tools because it said the company violated its hate speech rules, Bloomberg reported. After Bannon was tapped by Trump, AppNexus began scrutinizing the website and found it had “breached a policy against content that incites violence.”
Sleeping giants noted that many companies are unaware their ads are appearing on Breitbart or other sites, as they have bought into packages through programs like Google Ads, which then places the ads on well-trafficked websites. Breitbart is one of the most well-trafficked sites online, with more than 85 million users over the past six months.
Billionaire businessman Trump stunned the world when he was elected president earlier this month. Since his election, biotech and pharma stocks have performed well, as he is seen less likely to interfere with industry operations than Hillary Clinton, who promised to use the power of the presidency to curb pricing of prescription drugs.