Comcast’s advertising division, Comcast Spotlight, said it will not air advertisements in Utah from an activist who is working to solicit information about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ tax-exempt status, among other things.
"Upon review, the ad did not comply with our guidelines because the client was unwilling to provide substantiation for their claims and we do not accept ads that demean individuals or specific organizations. We offered to review any additional spots the client was interested in airing,” Comcast Spotlight said in a statement, which was reported by a number of Utah-based media outlets.
Fred Karger had hoped to air ads for MormonTips.com in the Salt Lake City market. The ads claim, among other things, that the Mormon Church owns more than $1 trillion in business holdings and is rife with sexual abuse. The ads, titled “Help Us,” ask viewers to share more information on the topics.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the Mormon Church declined to comment on the ads.
Karger said Comcast’s position “quashed my free speech,” but said he doesn’t have the resources to take on the world’s largest cable company. Instead he said he sent a letter to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts to “do the right thing.”
This isn’t the first time Comcast Spotlight has been embroiled in conflict. Late last year an Illinois court refused to toss a $225 million suit filed against “spot” advertising company Viamedia, which claims Comcast illegally impeded competition in local cable advertising.
Viamedia filed suit against Comcast in May in the Northern District of Illinois federal court, accusing Comcast Spotlight of shutting out rivals from interconnects it controls.
Comcast Spotlight offers advertising to local, regional and national businesses through television and digital advertising, covering cable TV, satellite, telco, online and VOD platforms. The company can “target customers geographically, demographically and by message to more efficiently and effectively reach specific audience segments,” it said.