TripAdvisor and Expedia are the latest travel company’s caught in US political crossfires 

3 April, 2018

Survivors of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida in Feb-2018 have inspired social-media fueled optimism that has forced many travel companies to perhaps unwittingly enter the debate, with TripAdvisor and Expedia pulling ads from conservative television show after its host made inappropriate comments about one of Parkland’s student activist.

After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 students, pressure mounted for various US corporations to cut ties with US gun lobby group, the National Rifle Association (NRA). Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Enterprise, Hertz and Avis were among several companies that cut their ties with NRA. Delta faced a tough backlash for its decision, with Atlanta’s Lieutenant governor successfully following through on threats to yank an exemption in for jet fuel tax in a broader tax bill passed by the state’s legislature.

Now TripAdvisor and Expedia have pulled their ads from conservative commentator’s Laura Ingraham show on the Fox network after she tweeted student activist David Hogg was whining about being rejected by UCLA in the college application process.

Mr Hogg, a Parkland survivor who is a founding member of the gun control activist group Never Again MSD, quickly responded on Twitter listing the advertisers for Ms Ingraham’s programme, and several companies have opted to sever ties with the show.

Among those opting to pull their advertising after the controversy emerged on social media were TripAdvisor and Expedia. A spokesperson for TripAdvisor told CNBC: “In our view, these statements focused on a high school student, cross the line of decency. As such, we have made a decision to stop advertising on that programme.”

Expedia told the business news site it no longer advertised on the show, noting it had pulled its advertising.

The gun control debate in the US that has ignited after the tragic shooting in Parkland is affecting businesses in unprecedented ways, offering more lessons into pitfalls and power those companies navigate as social media reaches a new level of maturity.