February 18, 2013

Exxon Mobil gave a cease-and-desist order to Comcast, forcing the cable provider to pull an ad about climate change from Fox News' coverage of the State of the Union address in some areas, according to a press release from one of the groups responsible for the ad.

The ad, titled "Exxon Hates Your Children," urges Congress to eliminate fossil fuel industry subsidies, and was produced by progressive advocacy groups Oil Change International, The Other 98% and Environmental Action.

Huffington Post reports:

The ad was scheduled to air in Houston, Texas, and Denver, Colorado, during Fox's State of the Union coverage. However, a few hours before the event began, a senior vice president of Universal McCann, which handles global media duties for Exxon, fired off an email to Comcast, which provides Fox programming in those areas.

"Please let this serve as an official cease & desist notification that claims made by Oil Change International that their claims in any spot that 'ExxonMobil Hates Your Children' is false and unsubstantiated," the email stated.

"ExxonMobil fully expects the spot in question to be pulled down immediately," the email continued. "Any delay in executing this cease & desist will be viewed as willful defamation and slander of the Exxon Mobil Corporation and will result in aggressive action."

The ad is part of an ongoing campaign -- ExxonHatesYourChildren.com -- targeting the more than $10 billion per year the U.S. government spends in fossil fuel subsidies. In response to Exxon's move to halt the ad run, they’ve launched a new group statement, Exxon Can’t Silence Us, which is already garnering thousands of public signatures online.

“When the richest company on Earth uses their power to silence the voices of average Americans it’s a very dark day for democracy,” said John Sellers, of The Other 98%. “Exxon thinks that they can take away our right to freedom of speech. They have made a huge mistake. They will only make us louder.”

“Every year U.S. taxpayers give Exxon and the rest of Big Fossil at least $10 Billion corporate welfare – it’s time to stop our tax dollars from funding climate chaos” said Steve Kretzmann, of Oil Change International. “People are tired of seeing our political system bullied by the biggest oil companies in the world. It’s time to fight back.”

“We wanted to do something very simple: on a night where the President laid out a plan to address our climate and economic challenges, we wanted Fox News viewers to finally hear about Exxon and the billions in taxpayer dollars that go toward helping them ruin our future,” said Drew Hudson, Executive Director of Environmental Action. “What people can’t understand is why it’s okay for some viewers to hear the full story in primetime, but others have to be shielded by the richest company in the world.”

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