Turley calls out bailing advertisers who were fine with Twitter blocking Hunter Biden laptop story

Influential legal scholar Jonathan Turley is appropriately bringing attention to the hypocrisy of corporate America for pulling its advertising from Twitter.

The George Washington University law professor and self-described liberal took these business organizations to task on his blog and via his own feed on the social media platform now owned by billionaire Elon Musk.

According to The Hill (relying on information from the far-left Media Matters organization), 50 percent of Twitter’s 100 leading advertisers have bailed, including Chevrolet, Chipotle, Ford, Jeep, Kyndryl, Merck and Novartis. The latter reportedly spent $750 million in Twitter ads this year alone. Whether this action/protest is temporary or permanent remains to be seen.

Prof. Turley’s companion thread reacted to an NPR article that similarly echoed the Media Matters data. “Seven additional advertisers have slowed their advertising to almost nothing,” NPR added.

Turley explained that many of these companies are withholding advertising buys in a wait-and-see attitude about Twitter’s new direction under Musk.

“The assumption is that the companies were fine with the ‘direction’ of the old Twitter in limiting free speech. In the very least, it did not seem to be a sufficient concern to prompt them to make public statements suspending advertising in prior years…,” he wrote, in part.

“Specifically, these companies appeared to have no objections to the company maintaining one of the world’s largest and most notorious censorship systems. The blocking of the Hunter Biden laptop story did not appear to be a barrier for advertisers. The blocking of individuals offering opposing views on Covid, climate change, transgender policies or other issues was not an apparent barrier. Yet, the announced intention to restore free speech protections has warranted these suspensions.”

On Twitter, Turley noted that “The implication of the NPR story is that these companies are pulling their support in light of Musk’s effort to remove censorship rules or reinstating barred accounts. If they pulled their support for another reason, they should state so.”

While similarly alluding to the premise that the rational for the advertising hiatus is “intentionally vague,” Turley also implied in the blog essay that turnabout is fair play.

“While it did not seem to be a problem to be associated with one of the world’s largest censorship companies, it is clearly their right to associate or disassociate with any company. It is also the right of consumers to choose to disassociate with companies due to their position on free speech,” he asserted at the conclusion of his essay published on Saturday, which was reaffirmation of his related Twitter commentary.

He presented a similar theme on Twitter as part of the longer thread.

Amidst the ongoing corporate pressure, there is even some speculation that Apple and Google might boot Twitter from their respective app stores, which prompted Musk to vow to manufacturer what he indicated is “an alternative phone.”

Anti-free-speech liberals, who were comfortable with the pre-Musk status quo and often championed the (now-abandoned) idea that a private-sector company can do what it wants, disagreed with Prof. Turley’s reasoned analysis.

Others appeared to side with Turley and, by implication, apparently plan to vote with their wallet. Here is just a sampling:


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