Hulu, the online streaming service owned by Disney, has rejected Dita Bhargava’s “Stripped Away” advertisement focused on abortion rights.
“Disney, the parent company that owns Hulu, has taken a company position that they won’t run ads having to do with abortion,” Bhargava, who is running for the Democratic endorsement for state treasurer, said. “This is outrageous. Reproductive healthcare is a fundamental issue of concern, and I’m calling on Disney to reverse this unacceptable decision immediately.”
Hulu did not immediately respond to our request for comment, but sent the Bhargava campaign a one page response giving a myriad of reasons why it may deny such an advertisement. One of those reasons included “Content that takes a position on a controversial issue of public importance (e.g. social issues).”
It’s unclear if that’s the reason the ad was denied.
The ad opens with Bhargava saying she approved this message “for millions of women across America.” A succession of similarly bare-shouldered women, each looking directly at the camera, flashes by. “This is who had freedom over their own bodies stripped away,” Bhargava says. “This is who the Supreme Court left completely vulnerable.” She then pledges to fight for abortion rights as treasurer, and closes with the firm statement: “We need more women in office.”
This is not the first time the company has denied advertisements from political candidates on controversial issues like abortion or guns.
Earlier this month, Hulu reportedly demanded a Democratic congressional campaign remove at least one of three “sensitive” issues—abortion, climate change, or gun laws—from a digital campaign ad and replace it with “non-sensitive” issues, like taxes or education, before it could run on the streaming service. The 30-second ad had already run on cable channels, but New York candidate Suraj Patel’s campaign viewed Hulu, a streaming platform owned by Disney, as an important avenue to reach younger voters during a midterm election.
In May it rejected an ad by Georgia Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux’s campaign “Leading the Fight” because it highlighted Bourdeaux’s staunch pro-choice position.