With the presidential election less than two months away, conservative groups are ratcheting up their campaign to stoke fears about transgender kids participating in girls’ sports. One of the latest efforts comes from the American Principles Group, which recently placed an advertisement on Facebook that says trans kids would “destroy girls’ sports.”
But in an about-face, the tech giant pulled the ad, and says it will place a “fact-check” label on the video if it’s shared on the platform organically, according to the Washington Blade.
In an obvious distortion of reality, the 38-second spot features a cisgender high school boy racing against cisgender high school girls, and beating them handedly. The ad specifically takes aim at Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Michigan Sen. Gary Peters for supporting the Equality Act.
David Kearns, a Facebook spokesperson, told the Blade its third-party fact checkers, including Politifact, deem the video to be misleading. “Our third party fact-checkers have rated this content which means it is not allowed to run as an ad and any organic posts will receive a label,” he told reporter Chris Johnson.
The American Principles Project, a conservative think tank, has focused in recent years on campaigning against LGBTQ and abortion rights. Last year, they ran anti-trans campaigns in Kentucky during the state’s highly contested governor’s race, though the Republican incumbent, Matt Bevin, narrowly lost to Democrat Andy Beshear.
Politico reported recently there’s a divide in Donald Trump’s campaign about whether to make transgender sports participation one of their centerpiece issues in the closing stretch of the presidential race.
Terry Schilling, the executive director of the American Principles Project, lambasted Facebook for pulling the ad. “Today, Facebook caved to a pressure campaign by far-left activists, effectively censoring our effort to inform voters about Democrat threats to women’s athletics,” he said in a statement.
Last month, a federal judge agreed to place a preliminary injunction against Idaho’s anti-trans law, temporarily halting it. The legislation, HB500, would make it illegal for trans girls to participate in sports in accordance to their gender identity.
Idaho is the only state where a bill outlawing trans sports participation has been signed into law.