A Christian lifestyle magazine targeting readers in their 20s and 30s has lost a big advertiser, allegedly over critical reporting about evangelist Franklin Graham.
Relevant publisher Cameron Strang said recently on Instagram that the magazine claiming more than 2 million monthly readers on various platforms lost long-time advertiser Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child “due to our critical reporting about Franklin Graham’s inflammatory rhetoric.”
“It was a big account,” acknowledged Strang, son of Charisma founder Stephen Strang, “but our team will always tell the truth and stand for what’s right, especially in this era, even if that has significant cost.”
In recent months Relevant has carried articles mildly critical of Graham, head of both Samaritan’s Purse and his late father’s Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump.
In April a Relevant editor cited a “troubling” tweet by Graham alleging the term progressive “is generally just a code word for someone who leans toward socialism, who does not believe in God and who will likely vote against Godly principles.”
In May Relevant carried a story about comments Graham made in a radio interview under the headline, “So, Franklin Graham Just Called Sanctuary Cities ‘a Little Picture of Hell.’”
A couple of weeks earlier the magazine said Graham’s comments about an alleged affair between Trump and adult film star Stormy Daniels contradict what he said when President Bill Clinton was accused of having an affair in 1998.
Most recently, Relevant was among numerous media outlets reporting on Graham’s comment that sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh are “not relevant.”
Strang, who founded Relevant Media Group in 2000, when he was 24, said on social media that Operation Christmas Child “was a big advertiser past holiday seasons.”
“It’s tough to risk revenue in media today, but they didn’t like our coverage of Franklin Graham’s extremism and pulled out,” he said. “I’ll never let [money] affect editorial autonomy or conviction. I can sleep just fine on the right side of history.”
A spokesperson for Samaritan’s Purse told Faithwire — a conservative news and opinion website launched by the Christian Broadcasting Network — that the North Carolina-based charity makes annual decisions regarding its advertising budget and this year “determined it would be more strategic to invest those resources elsewhere.”