So these were stocks that were included by mistake, rather than removed because Vanguard updated their criteria.
But the FT’s story (paywall) on this points out that Rupert Murdoch’s media companies e.g. Fox were also excluded and neither Vanguard or FTSE (who compiled the list of stocks to include in the fund), are explaining why. I’m guessing that politics has something to do with that..
Either way, the criteria for ESG ratings and which companies are considered worthy isn’t well defined. I think there’s still plenty of room for improvement here.