Cheezburger Network to Whitman campaign: FAIL!

Ben Huh, the CEO of the company that owns the humor site aped in an attack ad, tells CNET he wasn't joking when he said he wants the ad taken down.

Graphics in a political attack ad for California gubernatorial candidate and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman that imitated popular humor blog FailBlog aren't going over too well with Cheezburger Network, the amalgam of blogs that owns FailBlog.

"We are talking to our attorneys on this," Cheezburger Network founder and CEO Ben Huh told CNET via e-mail. "We haven't decided on a course of action, if any. The law is a complex beast."

Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh Scott Beale/Laughing Squid

Huh's comment followed a post he wrote Friday on FailBlog, in which he addressed the fact that a recent video campaign ad on Republican candidate Whitman's behalf that attacked Democratic opponent Jerry Brown appeared to show a FailBlog screenshot mocking Brown. "FailBlog or the Cheezburger Network has never been involved in any endorsement of any candidate or political party and do not plan to do so," Huh wrote Friday. "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."

Of course, it's great press for FailBlog, a cult phenomenon which soared to fame for its seemingly endless trove of photographs and videos that depict awkward packaging labels, skateboarders crashing into trees, and crime-scene photos of cops nabbing drunks. To be imitated in a political attack ad in a high-profile race is, really, a sign that they've made it.

What concerned Huh was the perception that the site is politically biased, something that he said generated some responses from misled readers.

"The issue is that they faked the contents of the site and created an impression that we criticized their opponent," Huh clarified to CNET. "While the header of the site doesn't appear, the screenshot was identifiable enough that our users thought we had an affiliation with their campaign."

In his blog post, Huh requested "a written apology from the Whitman campaign and the removal of the video," but given the silly nature of the wildly popular Cheezburger Network (which, yes, also owns cat-photo blog I Can Has Cheezburger), it wasn't clear how serious he was. From what it sounds like, legal action is not out of the question.

Representatives for the Whitman campaign were not immediately available for comment.

 

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