A pro-Donald Trump home making use of its free advertising space. (via Flickr)

BuzzFeed has ended a reported $1.3 million advertisement deal with the Republican National Committee.

The media site had made the deal with the RNC to run political ads this fall, but the rise of Donald Trump, now the GOP’s prospective presidential nominee, has changed everything. In an email, now published on the site, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti explained his decision:

Since signing this advertising deal, Donald Trump, as you know, has become the presumptive nominee of his party. The tone and substance of his campaign are unique in the history of modern US politics. Trump advocates banning Muslims from traveling to the United States, he’s threatened to limit the free press, and made offensive statements toward women, immigrants, descendants of immigrants, and foreign nationals.

Earlier today BuzzFeed informed the RNC that we would not accept Trump for President ads and that we would be terminating our agreement with them. The Trump campaign is directly opposed to the freedoms of our employees in the United States and around the world and in some cases, such as his proposed ban on international travel for Muslims, would make it impossible for our employees to do their jobs. …

We certainly don’t like to turn away revenue that funds all the important work we do across the company. However, in some cases we must make business exceptions: we don’t run cigarette ads because they are hazardous to our health, and we won’t accept Trump ads for the exact same reason.

In his story on the news, BuzzFeed reporter Kyle Blaine included a statement from Ben Smith, BuzzFeed’s editor in chief: “This was Jonah’s call, and the prerogative of a publisher.” Peretti himself stresses this in his statement, noting that the company “do[es] not expect to agree with the positions or values of all our advertisers,” and that “there is a wall between our business and editorial operations.”

Politico notes that “BuzzFeed has had an at times contentious relationship with the Trump campaign, with their reporters being denied credentials or general entry to Trump rallies and being directly targeted by the campaign and Trump himself.”

Trump has not commented on the matter, but CNN reports that RNC spokesman Sean Spicer has an opinion. “[W]e never intended to use BuzzFeed,” Spicer said, adding that it’s “ironic” that BuzzFeed has “not ruled out taking money from a candidate currently under investigation by the FBI.”

BuzzFeed is not the only media site to take a stance against Trump’s campaign. Politico notes that The Huffington Post “adds a note to each of its politics articles about the Republican nominee, calling him ‘serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther.’  ” The site also refuses to run Trump ads.

With the election season heating up, GOP leaders are becoming increasingly worried about Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric. As November approaches, it will be interesting to see which media outlets follow in BuzzFeed’s footsteps.

—Posted by Emma Niles

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