ESPN changed its mind on a Christmas commercial for a children’s hospital that includes the words “God” and "Jesus,” after “relentless attacks from the political right,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
"We have again reviewed the ads submitted for the SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center and have concluded that we will accept the original requested commercial," ESPN said in a statement released Thursday.
“It will run in Saturday’s VCU at Northern Iowa basketball game on ESPNU. This decision is consistent with our practice of individual review of all ads under our commercial advocacy standards,” the network said.
ESPN had previously rejected the ad, allegedly because of the religious references, the story notes. That decision sparked negative coverage from sites including The Drudge Report and Breitbart.com, the report adds, putting the issue "front-and-center in conservative and religious circles."
"Those stories were in part based on a Wednesday night report from the Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly, who blasted both ESPN and the hospital, the former for waging ‘a war on Christmas’ and the latter for not sufficiently standing up for itself, given that the hospital was refusing to talk publicly about its dispute with ESPN," THR reports.
ESPN came under fire from, among others, Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin, the report notes.
Sarah Palin added her views on Facebook, writing: "ESPN, you’ve come a long way, baby … from your known wholesome, bold Americana ‘persona’ to now being afraid to support freedom and not being bold enough to allow acknowledgment of the ‘Reason for the Season.’ So disappointing."
THR adds: "ESPN’s original decision to reject the ad was based on its guidelines stating that, ‘ESPN does not accept advertising that consists of, in whole or in part, political or religious advocacy or issue-oriented advertising.’
"Those guidelines, though, were also being picked apart by the political right on Thursday, given that ESPN often runs political ads, including one that recently promoted the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare."
Here’s the commercial at the center of the uproar: