Exxon gets activists’ ad pulled from Fox News

Exxon Mobil Corp. successfully got an advertisement that mocked the company removed from the airwaves hours before it was to broadcast before and after the State of the Union last week.

The ad, titled “Exxon Hates Your Children,” drew condemnation from Exxon Mobil weeks earlier as it was aired on MSNBC during some of its most popular shows.

It was set to air on Fox News in select markets, including Houston, before and after the State of the Union address.

Hours before the broadcast, an attorney acting on behalf of Exxon Mobil requested that Comcast, which sold the Houston airtime to the activists, not air the ad, according to an email obtained by FuelFix.

The ad is sponsored by Oil Change International, The Other 98% and Environmental Action.

“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 and that ExxonMobil fully expects the spots in question to be pulled down immediately and for written confirmation via email be provided immediately forthwith,” the attorney, Scott Suky, wrote in the email.

Exxon Mobil confirmed that it had requested the ad be taken down.

“The advertisement is offensive, nonsensical and fails to meet any basic standard of accuracy, so we requested that the broadcast network reconsider airing it,” Exxon Mobil spokeswoman Kimberly Brasington said in an email.

“Energy use and climate change are critically important challenges facing society that won’t be resolved with media campaigns that rely on provocative language and false allegations,” Brasington said. “The campaign is offensive to the thousands of ExxonMobil employees and contractors who work hard every day to deliver an essential product in a safe and environmentally responsible way.”

David Turnbull, campaigns director at Oil Change International, said the ad appropriately questioned tax breaks for oil companies and raised concerns about the environmental  consequences of fossil fuels.

He acknowledged fossil fuels power much of the world, but he believes the U.S. government should not be subsidizing their production.

“It’s unfortunate that Exxon was able to make enough noise and pressure that Comcast decided ultimately to take it down,” Turnbull said.

The air time for the pulled ads, in Houston and Denver markets, cost the groups just over $6,000. They were refunded the amount. The groups have a total of $13,000 that have been raised through online campaigns to put the ad on the air.