Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO and Republican candidate for governor of California, is trying to connect with young, Web savvy voters. But her new attack ad against her Democratic opponent, Jerry Brown, looks like major misstep toward that end.
Fifty-one seconds into the sharply critical ad about Brown, the attorney general and former governor, a screenshot of him appears, his visage behind an uppercased “FAIL.”
Certainly, the moment won’t mean much to some of its viewers. But plenty of the people Whitman is attempting to target will associate the screenshot with failblog.org, one of roughly 40 user-generated sites — including icanhascheezburger.com, ihasahotdog.com, and engrishfunny.com — that are owned by the profitable, three-year-old, Seattle-based startup Cheezburger Network.
Many of those same voters are likely supporters of Cheezburger’s 32-year-old founder Ben Huh, who has become a minor Internet celebrity as his sites’ popularity has soared. And Huh, after tweeting that he was “livid” over the ad this afternoon, came up with some other choice words for the Whitman campaign a bit ago:
Some of you have emailed us concerning a political attack video by the Meg Whitman campaign for California governor which features a screenshot of FAIL Blog attacking the other candidate Jerry Brown. We want to make it VERY clear that FAIL Blog nor the Cheezburger Network had any involvement or knowledge of the Whitman campaign use of a screenshot of FAIL Blog. In fact, the screenshot portrayed in the video never existed because the Whitman campaign faked the content within the screenshot. FAIL Blog or the Cheezburger Network has never been involved in any endorsement of any candidate or political party and do not plan to do so.
This is a place for humor, a place to laugh, and to have light-hearted fun poking at each other and what we see in the world. The FAIL Blog community involves liberals, conservatives and everyone across the political spectrum. And we do not endorse the use of FAIL Blog’s image or any content on any of the Cheezburger sites for anyone’s political gain.
We demand a written apology from the Whitman campaign and the removal of the video.
Ben Huh, Founder of the Cheezburger Network
P.S. Jerry Brown, you better not be thinking of using this image or post in your political ad either.
The video is below and as of this posting, remains unchanged.
(H/T: New York Magazine)