Two directors of a campaign group the pressures advertisers on diversity issues made light of Nigel Farage being “de-banked”. One even implied the former UKIP leader is a “fascist”.
The directors are part of the Conscious Advertising Network (Can), which says it wants to break the “economic link” between advertising and “harmful content”. Five of the UK’s largest ad firms are part of Can.
A number of Tory MPs criticised Coutt’s decision to close Farage’s bank account because of his political reviews. They said advertising risked being “overrun by council culture”.
According to The Telegraph, two CAN directors criticised Farage on social media. Jerry Daykin, a volunteer director of Can, responded last month to a tweet about Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, pledging action over the Farage row.
Daykin tweeted: “Wait… I thought everyone was campaigning so that the bakeries didn’t have to make gay cakes? Surely banks don’t have to serve fascist accounts as well?”
The Telegraph says the tweet was deleted after Can was approached for a comment. Jake Dubbins, the co-founder of Can, compared Farage losing his accounts to not being let into a nightclub.
He tweeted: “In New York once I wasn’t allowed into a club called Cielo for the simple fact I was a man on my own. I demand an investigation and wall to wall media coverage as Cielo didn’t respect my freedom of speech or something…”
Top Conservative politicians have criticised Can. Lord Frost said: “The fact that senior staff at Can are now seemingly prepared to support the de-banking of people they disagree with makes it very surprising that UK ad agencies take their views so seriously.”
Lee Anderson, the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, told the Telegraph: “This just shows that cancel culture stretches way beyond the banking sector. The Conscious Advertising Network has a hold over the advertising industry with these Stonewall-inspired cancel culture charters, and the big five ad agencies shouldn’t be associating with a group that is so opposed to free speech and is so overtly political.”
Mr Dubbins and Harriet Kingaby, co-chairmen of Can, said: “The Conscious Advertising Network is a non-partisan, non-political network of 180+ advertisers, agencies and civil society groups.
“Founded to create a safe, inclusive and commercially viable information ecosystem for advertisers and society that supports quality journalism and content, diversity of media and scientific consensus.
“As a group, we are committed to inclusion of diverse voices, child safety, tackling misinformation, driving sustainability within advertising, reducing ad fraud, enhanced privacy protections for consumers and eradicating hate speech.”