LOS ANGELES, CA — Outrage over the appearance of a Los Angeles Police Department recruitment advertisement on the controversial website breitbart.com prompted an investigation and a swift change in policy at the LAPD over the weekend.
The ad, featuring a uniformed officer and the words “CHOOSE your FUTURE LAPD IS HIRING,”appeared on the website Friday night, and instant uproar prompted Chief Michel Moore to look into whether city advertising dollars were spent on the infamous website.
By Saturday, it was clear the city didn’t buy advertising space directly from breitbart.com. Rather, the LAPD ad ended up there thanks to Google Ads. The Department will stop using Google Ads to eliminate the possibility of linking the department to brands inconsistent with LAPD values, officials said. Breitbart officials fired back, contending the website has a strong following among the ranks of the LAPD.
“LAPD did NOT purchase or otherwise acquire ad space on that website,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore tweeted Saturday morning. “Senior leadership at LA City Personnel Department also relayed they did not authorize or pay for this ad either.”
The department announced later Saturday in a tweet on @joinlapd, its Twitter account intended for recruitment purposes, “We have stopped these Google Ads altogether while we reexamine our ad filters and take all necessary steps to ensure tighter control of ad settings.”
A tweet from the department Friday described breitbart.com as “a website that creates a negative juxtaposition to our core values.”
Critics have accused the conservative-leaning Breitbart of running some content they deem to be racially and sexist-tinged, a charge operators of the influential site deny.
Elizabeth Moore of Breitbart issued a statement to the Los Angeles Times describing the company as “one of the most pro-police, pro-law-enforcement news organizations in America.”
“We have been cited by the New York Times Magazine as having one of the most diverse newsrooms in the nation, with a history of promoting women and minorities into leadership positions,” the statement said. “We also know we have strong readership among the rank-and-file in the LAPD.”
Advertisements bought on Google Ads often end up on websites the organization making the purchase does not know about in advance.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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