Burger King is facing a potential backlash as it joins other major brands in ceasing advertising on the platform Rumble, amidst a controversy surrounding Russell Brand. The move follows a report by the News Movement revealing that several prominent brands, including Burger King, HelloFresh, and Asos, withdrew their advertisements from Rumble after the platform chose not to demonetize Russell Brand, who is facing accusations of sexual assault.
In response to the controversy, Burger King announced that it has paused all advertising on the channel while investigations into the allegations against Brand are ongoing. The decision to pull advertisements has triggered outrage on social media, with calls for a boycott of Burger King gaining momentum.
Prominent figures, such as activist Charlie Kirk and Dr. Jordan Peterson, expressed their displeasure with Burger King’s decision, framing it as an affront to free speech and due process. Social media users rallied behind the call to boycott Burger King, along with other brands involved in the advertising suspension.
Burger King has pulled its ads from Rumble because the free speech platform refuses to play judge, jury, and executioner of Russell Brand after the UK Governor demanded the platform demonetize him.
Reminder, Brand has not been convicted of a single crime.
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) September 24, 2023
The backlash intensified with critics highlighting Burger King’s stance on free speech, censorship, and cancel culture. Some commentators criticized the fast-food giant for what they perceive as aligning with “wokeism.” The controversy also revived past grievances, with one person recalling a previous boycott of Burger King over perceived disrespect towards religious sentiments.
Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski has been vocal in his refusal to bow to what he termed a “cancel culture mob” by demonetizing Russell Brand. The British House of Commons’ Culture, Media, and Sport Committee inquired about Rumble’s stance on Brand’s monetization after YouTube demonetized him. Spotify also declined to remove Brand’s podcast from its platform.
NEW – Russell Brand releases a new video addressing the alarming state of online censorship, encouraging his YouTube audience to follow him on Rumble.
Brand highlights the Trusted News Initiative and the United Kingdom’s Online Safety Bill.pic.twitter.com/DtdOkyw0vd
— KanekoaTheGreat (@KanekoaTheGreat) September 22, 2023
Adding another layer to the situation, the Metropolitan Police in London confirmed on Monday that they have initiated a formal investigation into the allegations against Russell Brand. As Burger King faces calls for a boycott, the company is yet to provide further clarification on its decision to halt advertising on Rumble. The broader fallout from this controversy raises questions about the intersection of corporate advertising, freedom of speech, and the handling of serious allegations in the digital age.