For Immediate Release: April 11, 2013

Contact: Molly Haigh, 907-750-1999,

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:

The crowd-funded ad buy was to be part of an ongoing campaign – – 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.

See Exxon’s cease and desist letter here.

See the coalition’s response here, drafted with support from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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.



[1] As reported in Mother Jones, among other outlets:


  • The American Corporations are abandoning USA for doing business with the BRIC countries?
    After two wars commonly the American economy opens its doors temporally to foreigners and after the war we will have to build our economy and rebuild our freedom again, it takes time never less something happens different, the American corporations are acting like they do not belong to any land, no country, and no people. The loyalty is only for their profits. Profits today increase using again slavery, human trafficking, used of minors in factories and different situations that in the USA is not allowed now-a-days; in most of the cases mixing illegal and legal businesses and atypical with typical businesses worldwide, without scrupulous they put millions in extreme poverty.
    For example in Mexico, using the media to show criminal victories that were fakes, India sending people called “fresher” to destroy the American companies while they were sending offshore our personal data. China is selling everything and paying bribes to everybody.
    So standard business rules were broken totally and may be as never before. Americans should not accept the return back of these companies if they want to continue in such a crazy attitude. It is time to rebuild the American dream again; the former American Corporates are giving us chance to Think Global Act Local, and give us the chance to sue them if they want to continue in USA. It is just a matter of time to create new conditions for American businesses fortunately we have a pretty good Constitution that allow us to do that in spite of current socialist and communist ideas.
    It sound incredible that most of these former American Corporations are not doing well enough their own accounting in the American way, use SOX and use control and operative models for Operations Research and Industrial Engineering mainly to increase the productivity and development of the USA. It opens the door for new US businesses and new business ethic.

  • It is the Right of The People to be informed. Exxon’s attempt to censor information is an attack on the First Amendment, and bullying media is unethical. The FCC should fine Exxon per instance per media outlet $1m. The US Attorney General should level criminal (Ricoh) charges against the executive management of Exxon for conspiring together to a) limit the freedom of the press, and b) limit The People’s free speech.

  • Next they’ll hire an army of private storm troopers to see that people stay in line….Gee….sound familiar? It’s the same as when the UAW tried to organize Ford Motors, and their armed goons (under Harry Bennett) beat the hell out of the protesters….may have shot a few. You probably won’t hear much about those things in today’s lamestram media.

  • In their cease and desist letter they pretty much state they are shaping science education at the elementary school level. Teach ’em young that the scientific method is meaningless, and all research is faulty unless it can produce results a positive for major corporations.

  • Amanda B, you are astute. You get an A+ for your depth of perception!

    Schools are funded by special interest groups ( i.e., Corporate Foundations ) only for the promotion of their social value system and indoctrination of the masses for their personal benefit;To create a workforce for their agenda.

    It has worked. Time to move far and away from these Corporate “Value Systems” that are anti-life, anti-care, anti-love.

    Be very aware that these constructs ( Social Insititutions such as educational ) are for the agenda of programming the population to accept the corporate globalists vision of reality, therefore, it is obvious to state that they are positioning themselves as omnipotent and above reapproach. I suppose you could say that they are in the business of creating a social body that is aligned with their image; Uncaring, narcissistic, self-destructive, arrogant and socipathic in nature.

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