Hulu Denied Democratic Political Ads From Airing. Two Days Later, It Changed Its Mind.

Pro-abortion protesters in front of the Supreme Court / Getty Images
July 27, 2022

Disney confirmed in a statement to Axios it will change Hulu’s advertising policies to allow political advertising. The decision comes only two days after the company denied ads created by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Governors Association. The denial had sparked online outrage among Democrats.

The ads that prompted internet outcry depict congressional Republicans and former president Donald Trump as unfeeling about gun violence toward children and accuses them of a "coordinated Republican attack" on abortion.

This is the latest political controversy in which Disney has caved to Democratic pressure. Last March, Disney opposed Governor Ron DeSantis's (R., Fla.) Florida Parental Rights in Education bill after the Democrats characterized it as the "Don't Say Gay Bill."

"Hulu’s censorship of the truth is outrageous, offensive, and another step down a dangerous path for our country," the directors of three Democratic committees responsible for the ads said in a statement to the Washington Post. "Voters have the right to know the facts about MAGA Republicans’ agenda on issues like abortion—and Hulu is doing a huge disservice to the American people by blocking voters from learning the truth about the GOP record or denying these issues from even being discussed."

Hulu’s policy used to allow candidate ads but not issue ads. Political ads were permitted on a case-by-case basis. Now, Hulu will allow a large variety of political ads and reserves the right to request edits.

Disney said the change is motivated by the desire for their streaming platforms to be consistent in advertising rules, with the exception of Disney+, which will offer a plan with "family-friendly" ads later this year. ESPN+, another of Disney’s subscription-streaming services, already allows political ads.

Disney has come under fire recently for promoting a "not-at-all-secret gay agenda" in its children’s programming and parks and expressing opposition for Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill.

Netflix, Hulu’s chief competitor in streaming, has suffered major subscriber and market blows following the release of Cuties, a film sexualizing young girls, and other political messaging that has failed to strike a chord among consumers.