NBC, Fox News, Facebook pull controversial Trump immigration ad CNN deemed too racist

NBC Universal announced Monday it will no longer air a controversial Trump campaign ad that ran during the network’s “Sunday Night Football” broadcast. 

The ad, which attempts to link convicted cop-killer Luis Bracamontes to an unrelated Central American migrant caravan currently traveling north, was deemed too racist by CNN. NBC’s decision to run the ad was met by a public outcry after it aired Sunday. In less than 24 hours, the network announced it would no longer run the spot. 

“After further review we recognize the insensitive nature of the ad and have decided to cease airing it across our properties as soon as possible,” NBC Universal spokesman Joe Benarroch said in a statement Monday. 

Fox News also announced in a statement Monday that, “Upon further review, Fox News pulled the ad yesterday and it will not appear on either Fox News Channel or Fox Business Network.” 

The ad continued to run on Facebook into Monday morning, targeting social media users in Florida and Arizona. But the ad is now inactive and a message says it was  “taken down because it goes against Facebook’s advertising policies.”

The decision to pull the ad followed an outpouring of social media outrage. 

Producer and director Judd Apatow called the airing of the ad “a low point in the history of @nbc.” 

And actress Debra Messing, whose show “Will and Grace” runs on NBC, told the sitcom’s fans, “I am ashamed that my network aired this disgusting racist ad.”

“I don’t know about it,” President Donald Trump said when reporters asked him about the 30-second spot on Monday. “We have a lot of ads and they certainly are effective based on the numbers that we’re seeing.” 

When asked about people finding the ad offensive, the president replied, “A lot of things are offensive. Your questions are offensive a lot of the time.” 

In the weeks leading up to the midterms, Trump has pushed to make immigration a key issue, and the migrant caravan – which is made up of people fleeing violence, corruption and poverty in their home countries – has been at the center of that.

Last week, Trump tweeted a similar, longer ad, which linked Bracamontes to the caravan and blamed Democrats for the convict being in the country. Critics called that spot divisive and racist.

Fact checkers also found that ad to be misleading.

Bracamontes, who was sentenced to death for the 2014 murder of two California deputies, entered the country illegally on at least two occasions. But court records show his case was handled primarily by Republicans, the Arizona Republic reported. At least one of his deportations occurred while former President Bill Clinton was in office, the other during the administration of President George W. Bush. 

CNN reported that ad was also produced for the Trump campaign. But it notably did not feature the traditional, FEC-mandated endorsement at the end of the commercial. Medium’s Jason Mojica reported that is because internet communications are excluded from the law requiring such a disclaimer.

The shorter commercial that was pulled by NBC, Fox and Facebook opens with shots of the “7,000 migrant caravan, crossing Mexico, marching toward our border” and then, without the narrator taking a pause, abruptly jumps to shots of Bracamontes.

“Dangerous, illegal criminals like cop-killer Luis Bracamontes don’t care about our law,” the narrator continues, amid shots of a Bracamontes smiling in court and saying he regrets that “I just killed two.” 

The ad then cuts back to the caravan, declaring, “America cannot allow this invasion. The migrant caravan must be stopped.” Next, we see President Donald Trump speaking with immigration officials as the narrator says Trump “and his allies will protect our border and keep our families safe.” 

It closes by telling the viewer as a woman steps into a voting booth, “America’s future depends on you. Stop the caravan, vote Republican.” A disclaimer explains the ad was paid for by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and that Trump approved the message. 

CNN refused to air the ad, prompting Donald Trump Jr. to tweet, “I guess they only run fake news and won’t talk about real threats that don’t suit their agenda.”  

“CNN has made it abundantly clear in its editorial coverage that this ad is racist,” the cable news network’s communication department tweeted in response. “When presented with an opportunity to be paid to take a version of this ad, we declined. Those are the facts.” 

Despite the ad’s implication that immigrants entering or living in the U.S. illegally are dangerous, numerous studies have found no evidence that those immigrants bring an increase in violent crime. A study published by “Criminology” in May found that “if anything, the data suggest the opposite.”

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