'Proactive' Sky confirms it intentionally axed Bolt show ads to protect brands

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 28 February 2019
Andrew Bolt.

Sky News has confirmed to AdNews that it intentionally made the decision to drop ads from The Bolt Report in order to protect advertisers from any potential backlash.

Yesterday, The Sleeping Giants found that Tuesday night’s The Bolt Report aired with no paid ads as the host, political and social commentator Andrew Bolt, angered Australians with his defence of Cardinal George Pell.

This week Pell was revealed to have been found guilty by a jury for molesting choirboys as an Archbishop in the 1990s.

In an opinion piece following the verdict, Bolt said Pell had been "falsely convicted" and in a preview for his Sky News show he said he "doesn't accept" the verdict.

Now, Sky News has confirmed to AdNews that it actively made the decision not to run ads, rather than give advertisers the option to pull out first, in order to prevent advertisers from being the target of public campaigning.

“Sky News is committed to providing a platform for robust debate and discussion, and is not afraid to tackle confronting and controversial issues,” a Sky News spokesperson said.

“Sky News recognised that the controversial topic of George Pell’s conviction to be covered by one of its highest rating commentators may have presented an environment that left advertisers open to campaigns by activists.

“A proactive decision was made to replace advertisements during last night’s program.”

Despite the measures Sky News took, businesses have still been facing protests after The Sleeping Giants posted a list of advertisers on Sky News for the week ending 26/02/19.

So far, brands including Nib, Samsung, Procter & Gamble, Coles, McDonald’s and CommBank have had Twitter users urge them to stop advertising on Sky News.

Nib responded to the activist group The Sleeping Giants saying it doesn’t share the views of Bolt.

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