Ford pulls ads from U.K. newspaper after phone-hacking controversy
Following a Twitter campaign, Ford Motor Co. has pulled its advertising from the U.K.'s best-selling newspaper, Rupert Murdoch's News of the World, over allegations the paper hacked into the voicemail of a missing schoolgirl.
Murdoch's News International has been dealing for years with the fallout -- and multiple lawsuits -- from celebrities charging that News of the World reporters illegally listened to their cellphone messages, but the revelation this week that the newspaper tampered with a murdered girl's voicemail has outraged the British public.
A spokesman for Ford said, "Ford is a company which cares about the standards of behavior of its own people and those it deals with externally. We are awaiting an outcome from the News of the World investigation."
A Twitter campaign urging advertisers not to buy space in the News of the World is in full swing. A list of 17 of the paper's top advertisers is being circulated, with a suggestion that people tweet messages such as, "Dear [@advertiser] Do you think it ethical to stock a newspaper prepared to hack a murdered girl's phone?"
Advertisers targeted include Renault, Virgin Media, EasyJet, T-Mobile and Weight Watchers.
Ford said it will continue to advertise in other News International titles. The media group also owns The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. The News of the World is the U.K.'s biggest-circulation newspaper, selling 2,708,158 copies weekly in February, far ahead of the No. 2 Sunday paper, the Daily Mail's Mail on Sunday, with circulation of 1,924,589 copies.
It was revealed on July 4 that News of the World in 2002 hacked into the phone messages of missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler, who was later found dead. Representatives of the newspaper even deleted messages when her mailbox filled up, in order to make room for more messages to be left.