Over 20 companies have reportedly pulled their commercials from Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” The advertising exodus began after host Tucker Carlson commented that the United States was allowing “poorer” and “dirtier” people to travel illegally into the country. Some people thought the line was racist and began to criticize Carlson.
The host defended his remarks amid immediate backlash, then critics began to go after his advertisers pressing them to pull their commercials and funding.
Red Lobster today became the 20th advertiser to quit advertising on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight in the wake of controversial comments its host made about immigrants making the U.S. “poorer” and “dirtier” that critics have denounced as racist.
Like other former Carlson advertisers, the restaurant chain is planning to continue to buy commercials on Fox News, which finished 2018 as the most watched basic cable television network in terms of both total day and primetime viewers for the third straight year, according to Nicole Bott, a Red Lobster spokeswoman. According to Business Insider, which broke the story, Red Lobster had come under fire on social media for maintaining its ties to Carlson since about 19 other brands have dropped the show since December. Bott, however, denies that this is the case.
BizPac Review reports that 21 companies have departed from Carlson:
The activists then began pressuring the host’s advertisers to pull their advertising from the program or face their combined wrath. According to the Huffington Post, as of Saturday, 21 advertisers had ceded to the left’s demands:
- Pacific Life
- Voya Financial
- Land Rover
- Zenni Optical
- Just for Men
- United Explorer credit card
- TD Ameritrade
- Takeda Pharmaceutical Company
- Norwegian Cruise Line
- Red Lobster
According to a report from the Hollywood Reporter, the “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show most recently averaged 24 ads per episode across seven shows. This figure reflects a substantial drop from the average of 36 ads the show was averaging before the disparaging immigration comment across seven shows.
A Fox News spokesperson said in late December that “the channel usually has lighter ad during the holiday period between Christmas and the first few weeks of the New Year” and that “ad loads pick up towards the end of the month,” though the post-holiday week of Jan. 7 has been Carlson’s lowest to date (averaging 22 ads per show).
While the executive in charge of advertising at Fox News has said that sponsors typically return to shows after the backlash abates, only one company — Ancestry.com — that pulled ads from Carlson’s show has come back. The genealogy company advertised on Carlson’s Jan. 3 show, but did not reply when asked if the spot was the result of a change in strategy and has not advertised on the show since then.
Some of Carlson’s supporters have pushed back on the boycott and launched a boycott of their own on the advertisers.
BizPac Review reports “all the outrage against these advertisers” comes from the “immense double standards” as conservatives like Carlson are victims of boycotts while liberals are nearly never boycotted.
From the report:
When panelists on a CNN show accused black rapper Kanye West of being a “token Negro” last October, the show’s advertisers said and did nothing.
When a guest on an MSNBC show said two months ago that white people will always “vote with their whiteness,” the show’s advertisers said and did nothing.
When a still-employed MSNBC show host was discovered two years ago to have once written homophobic blog posts, the show’s advertisers said and did nothing