UPDATED with Facebook pulling ad: Facebook has pulled a racially charged Donald Trump campaign commercial, which attempts to link a Mexican immigrant who murdered two sheriff’s deputies in 2014 to migrants leaving Central America. The move comes after NBCUniversal had a similar sharp change of heart Monday hours after airing the incendiary ad last night on Sunday Night Football.
The social network said the ad violates Facebook’s ban on sensational ad content. The ad began running today, equating the thousands of asylum-seekers approaching the U.S. border with Luis Bracamontes, who is seen in a video bragging about his crimes. It calls on voters to stop the “invasion” and vote Republican.
“This ad violates Facebook’s advertising policy against sensational content so we are rejecting it,” Facebook said in a statement. It reached as many as 50,000 people living in Florida, according to Facebook’s ad archive.
Airing on Sunday as the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers battled it out on Sunday Night Football, the already controversial ad pounded on Trump’s migrant caravan and fear-of-immigrants drum the former Celebrity Apprentice host has been beating in the final days of the midterm elections.
“Dangerous illegal criminals like cop killer Luis Bracamontes don’t care about our laws,” the 30-second spot asserts, mixing a number of situations and facts, including that the Mexican man convicted of killing a duo of Sacramento sheriff’s deputies four years ago has nothing to do with the distant caravan.
“After further review we recognize the insensitive nature of the ad and have decided to cease airing it across our properties as soon as possible,” an NBCU spokesperson said in a statement about pulling the ad Monday morning.
Already refused by CNN last week and widely viewed as a new low in an election season of new lows, the longer version of the ad first appeared on Trump’s social media feed on Halloween. Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network have played the ad about 14 times in the last few days but discontinued it on Sunday. “Upon further review, Fox News pulled the ad yesterday and it will not appear on either Fox News Channel or Fox Business Network,” said Fox New’s Ad Sales boss Marianne Gambelli today.
Besides showing up on SNF, the ad made three appearances on NBC’s cabler newser MSNBC three times Monday morning.
While the Jeff Zucker-run CNN never aired the ad in it paid slots, it played audio from the Willie Horton redux effort several times editorially, as various anchors commented on the distorted material.
The fact that the Comcast-owned net would take the ad and run it put more than a fright into a number of Hollywood players, with Judd Apatow and Will & Grace star Debra Messing chastising NBC.
“To our @willandgrace fans—I want you to know that I am ashamed that my network aired this disgusting racist ad,” the politically outspoken Messing tweeted early this morning. “It is the antithesis of everything I personally believe in, and what, I believe, our show is all about. @nbc,” she added.
Saying “Thank you @nbc and @comcast,” this morning, Apatow ripped the net over airing the ad during the NFL flagship show:
It is not a freedom of speech issue. If an ad is a racist lie and incites violence and hatred the week after horrifying murders which were the result of the same racist lies they have the option to reject it like @cnn did. https://t.co/7jdjYkNBek
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) November 5, 2018
Over the weekend, CNN said it had “made it abundantly clear in its editorial coverage that this ad is racist.” The cable newser that Trump slams incessantly as the megaphone of “Fake News” added that, “When presented with an opportunity to be paid to take a version of this ad, we declined.”
Not mentioning the ad but pushing hard on the campaign trail before Tuesday’s vote, Trump turned to Twitter this morning to rail against his favorite media pinata:
So funny to see the CNN Fake Suppression Polls and false rhetoric. Watch for real results Tuesday. We are lucky CNN’s ratings are so low. Don’t fall for the Suppression Game. Go out & VOTE. Remember, we now have perhaps the greatest Economy (JOBS) in the history of our Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2018
A CNN spokesperson did not return request for comment over Trump’s latest attack.