Cider brand Kopparberg was among the first to stick it to chairman Andrew Neil and pull its adverts claiming they didn’t even know they were on the channel.
In a statement posted on Twitter, they said: “We want to make it clear to everyone that our ad ran on this channel without our knowledge or consent. Kopparberg is a drink for everyone and we have immediately suspended our ads from this channel pending further review of its content”.
Since then, Dutch beer brand Grolsch and Nivea have also suspended adverts from the channel, as has the Open University, Octopus Energy, Specsavers, Ovo Energy and insurer LV.
Why is the boycott happening?
In some part, we can look to the actions of campaign group Stop Funding Hate to find answers. The group has targeted (and has encouraged others to target) all the brands that advertise on GB News to ask them to stop.
A website BoycottGBNews.org has also been set up by former BBC producer Louise Wikstrom.
She told MailOnline her company that supports the website is “proud to take a stand against biased news through this campaign, together with thousands of supporters who have written to GB News’ advertisers to make their voices heard.”
Meanwhile, some of the content GB News is churning out has already proved controversial, perhaps causing brands to feel cautious.
Presenter Dan Wootton, for instance, triggered over 350 Ofcom complaints after he accused the government of creating a coronavirus “scare campaign”. The channel has also featured rogues like Laurence Fox and Nigel Farage who have obviously also espoused their fair share of galling takes.
Are any brands defending GB News?
The Co-op is. Posting on Twitter, the supermarket chain defended GB News’s “editorial independence and said:
Meanwhile, speaking to the Telegraph, Paul Withers, the chief executive of a gold dealing firm called Direct Bullion, hailed GB News as a “breath of fresh air”.
He said: “The response we have had from the channel has been strong; we will be looking to increase our ad spend, not retract.
“Many of our customers are over 50 years old and have had enough of the same rhetoric, whether it’s about investing, political issues, Brexit or Covid.
“I hear the same thing time and time again. GB News, while it may be upsetting some people, it’s also breathing fresh air to others.”
So that’s something, then.
How have others reacted?
Some people applauded brands for their decision and posted their support:
So far on day 4 of GB News, a total of 10 companies have pulled advertisements.
✔️ Vo… https://t.co/9g7j4JtwUj
But GB News has the support of the government and Conservative MPs. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said businesses “must not succumb to pressure groups”.
Speaking to MailOnline, he said: “As we’ve seen this week with the totally unacceptable harassment of a BBC journalist, we cannot take it for granted. It is up to brands to advertise where they wish, but it would be worrying if they allow themselves to succumb to pressure groups.”
And Tory MP Craig Mackinlay branded the ad boycott of GB News as “unbelievable” and “mad”. He told the site: “I am now putting together a list of beers and household products that I will not be buying. This is all part of the closing down of free speech campaign which I am afraid we are seeing across our society. It must be resisted. It is an absolute abomination’”.
The irony of being upset at cancel culture and the boycotting of brands people don’t believe in, and... boycotting and cancelling brands because of it has played out. It’s an infinite cycle of madness. We despair.
Other people who have cancelled brands for cancelling GB News...
Piers Morgan, for instance, responded to Ikea and said: “Oh shut up, you pathetic virtue-signalling twerps. I’m now boycotting IKEA.”
Former Brexit Party MEP Martin Daubney chimed in:
Very heartening to see punters voting with their wallets & turning their backs on cancel culture brands like… https://t.co/HkSDHIbCeB
— Martin Daubney ✌🏻🇬🇧 (@Martin Daubney ✌🏻🇬🇧)
And Neil is not happy at all:
IKEA has decided to boycott GB News because of our alleged values. Here are IKEA’s values — a French CEO who is a c… https://t.co/PXRedUwsvq