For Immediate Release: April 11, 2013
Contact: Molly Haigh, 907-750-1999, firstname.lastname@example.org
Exxon Pressures Arkansas TV Stations To Ban Critical Ad Following Mayflower Tar Sands Spill
Amidst reports of media intimidation at the site of the Mayflower, Arkansas tar sands oil spill, ExxonMobil has now taken to bullying local Little Rock television stations into canceling the airing of a satirical but cutting advertisement critical of their business practices.
See a copy of the ad here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXV6FW9Vg0I
The crowd-funded ad buy was to be part of an ongoing campaign – ExxonHatesYourChildren.com – being run by three progressive organizations using satire to target the more than $10 billion per year US taxpayers spend to subsidize dirty fossil fuel companies like Exxon.
The ad was set to air on Arkansas ABC, NBC, and Fox affiliates this week, but was pulled moments before airing by the stations when Exxon threatened legal action.
“Exxon is and will always be a bully,” said David Turnbull, Campaigns Director of Oil Change International. “Instead of engaging their critics appropriately, Exxon uses its billions to hire high-priced lawyers to make scary-sounding but unsupported legal claims to suppress criticism. It’s a window into how they have preserved billions in taxpayer handouts for their industry for so many years.”
This is the second time Exxon has bullied this advertisement off the air. In February, Exxon sent a cease-and-desist letter to Comcast only hours before scheduled airings during State of the Union news coverage.
The move by Exxon marks the latest in a series of reported strong-arm tactics undertaken by Exxon to censor reporting in the days following the Mayflower tar sands oil spill.1
“Folks are tired of Exxon bullying the media in Arkansas trying to cover their latest spill – but going after TV stations over 30 seconds of ad time? They’re going to learn they can’t silence the truth: Exxon’s dirty oil and corporate welfare threaten our children’s future,” said John Sellers, Executive Director of The Other 98%.
The groups have responded to the requests from the TV stations for a rebuttal with a letter from their legal representation, outlining the clear history of protected speech that the advertisement rests upon.
“This ad has been funded by citizens from across the country who know what corporations like Exxon really stand for. Our government is providing tax breaks to companies like Exxon to spill oil in our backyards. It’s time to stand up to Exxon and allow this message to be heard,” said Drew Hudson, Executive Director of Environmental Action.
The ads were crowd-funded through the Louder platform, which gives regular citizens access to the powerful channels of advertising.
 As reported in Mother Jones, among other outlets: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2013/04/reporters-say-exxon-impeding-spill-coverage-arkansas