Companies that waited to pull ads likely saw a stream of tweets from users asking them to #DropOReilly, thanks in part to groups like Sleeping Giants.
According to The Huffington Post, the loosely organized group of volunteers was formed after the November presidential election to get companies to stop advertising on Breitbart News, which publishes white nationalist content. The group’s goal was to “defund bigotry.”
They and their 80,000 followers look at Breitbart daily, taking screenshots of ads and tweeting them to advertisers with a request to stop advertising on the site. Sleeping Giants says hundreds of those companies have since agreed to drop Breitbart.
The Sleeping Giants organizers keep their names anonymous so that their activism doesn’t interfere with their marketing jobs, a co-founder told The Huffington Post.
At first, they hesitated getting involved with Fox News, which would dilute their focus on Breitbart. But after “more and more outcry” from followers, they began tracking and targeting “The O’Reilly Factor” advertisers in earnest ― practically a second full-time job, the Sleeping Giants co-founder said.
THE SG O'REILLY LIST: https://t.co/4nCzlqrCQ8— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) April 4, 2017
THE SG O'REILLY FAQ: https://t.co/mYBqY63TQu pic.twitter.com/XXxmHurB4Y
“We did a little bit of soul-searching ourselves,” he said. “We really started as an anti-bigotry campaign, but ultimately, misogyny has always been part of what we’re fighting against. It made a lot of sense. We just didn’t know if we had the bandwidth to pull it off.”
Sleeping Giants creates graphics about O’Reilly’s controversy and encourages followers to tweet them at advertisers. The tactic is intended to be a polite sting ― far milder than shaming or a boycott threat. The group follows up with positive reinforcement, publicly thanking companies that stop advertising.