Kellogg's boycott: How the US marketplace is divided by politics

The cereal company is under attack from news site Breitbart after pulling advertisements on Tuesday. But voters unhappy with the results of the election are striking back by boycotting companies with whom they disagree politically. 

John Raoux/AP/File
Kellogg's cereal products line a grocery shelf in Orlando, Fla. The company has pulled its advertising from the conservative news site Breitbart, citing differences in social values.

Kellogg’s, the creator of popular cereal brands such as Frosted Flakes and Rice Krispies, announced on Tuesday that it would pull all of it advertising from Breitbart, citing concerns about the conservative news website’s values.

The cereal company joins a host of other companies, including Allstate, Nest, Vanguard, and EarthLink, that are now abandoning the news site, many of which say that Breitbart frequently posts racist or abusive content they do no support, highlighting concerns that have also dogged Breitbart’s preferred pick for president, Donald Trump. 

As consumers chose to patronize only those companies whose values align with theirs, will the American marketplace become even more politicized as businesses distinguish their political preferences? 

"Kellogg's decision to blacklist one of the largest conservative media outlets in America is economic censorship of mainstream conservative political discourse. That is as un-American as it gets," said Breitbart in a statement.

When discontinuing its advertising with the news organization, Kellogg stated that its company values dictated that the two cut ties.

"We regularly work with our media-buying partners to ensure our ads do not appear on sites that aren’t aligned with our values as a company," said Kellogg spokeswoman Kris Charles. "We recently reviewed the list of sites where our ads can be placed and decided to discontinue advertising on Breitbart.com. We are working to remove our ads from that site."

Since Kellogg’s Tuesday announcement, Breitbart has launched a campaign against Kellogg, publishing articles urging consumers to #DumpKelloggs.

Breitbart’s readership jumped to 19 million unique readers in October, up significantly from its average readership of nearly 13 million per month.

The divisive nature of the campaign has had voters across the political spectrum using their purchases to express their viewpoints. And the battle at the cash register shows no signs of letting up.

Since the election, Trump supporters have launched a campaign called Operation #TrumpCup, in which customers purchase coffees in Trump’s name, with the intent to provoke a fight with baristas who may refuse to serve them.

Some staunch conservatives are also boycotting Elon Musk and Netflix, claiming that Mr. Musk is a "weak conservative" and that Netflix offers a documentary that is sympathetic toward Al Qaeda. The documentary, "White Helmets," is about aid workers in Syria.

At the other end of the ring, Grabyourwallet.org hosts a list of companies to boycott if you are frustrated by the election results, including Amazon, since the popular online seller carries Ivanka Trump products.

These marketplace boycotts are occurring alongside the much-publicized political statement made at curtain call by the cast of "Hamilton" on Broadway in New York. 

After the cast of "Hamilton," the patriotic musical about one of America’s Founding Fathers, was rebuffed by Trump as disrespectful when they addressed audience member Vice President-elect Mike Pence to request equity and fairness from the incoming Trump administration, the show's ticket sales soared. 

The already blockbuster show grossed $3.3 million the week after the Trump incident, $1 million more than even unusually popular shows make per week.

It is unclear whether the Breitbart-Kellogg tiff will make a difference for either company’s revenue. Whatever the outcome, however, editor-in-chief Alexander Marlowe is gearing up for a full-scale battle.

"Boycotting Breitbart News for presenting mainstream American ideas is an act of discrimination and intense prejudice," he said. "If you serve Kellogg’s products to your family, you are serving up bigotry at your breakfast table."

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