Samsung, SodaStream, Pfizer’s Robitussin, Jaguar-Land Rover, TD Ameritrade, and SanDisk are among at least 20 brands that have either fully stopped or temporarily suspended advertising on Fox News’ 8 p.m. program, Tucker Carlson Tonight, after the host said last Thursday on his show that immigration makes the United States “poorer, dirtier and more divided.”
The growing boycott doesn’t seem to be affecting Fox News’ bottom line, at least not yet. Fox News told Adweek that none of the companies that have pulled their ads from Carlson’s show are leaving the network entirely; instead, they are having their buys shifted to other Fox News programming. The network claims that no ad revenue has been lost.
That could soon change, however: There were only four ad breaks during Wednesday’s broadcast, down from the usual five per hour. If the boycott continues or additional brands leave the show in the coming days, the network could end up taking a revenue hit.
Pacific Life insurance was the first company to suspend advertising on the program after Carlson’s anti-immigration remarks, tweeting last Friday, “As a company, we strongly disagree with Mr. Carlson’s statements. Our customer base and our workforce reflect the diversity of our great nation, something we take great pride in. We will not be advertising on Mr. Carlson’s show in the coming week as we reevaluate our relationship with his program.”
In response to that move, Fox News released the following statement that evening: “It is a shame that left-wing advocacy groups, under the guise of being supposed ‘media watchdogs,’ weaponize social media against companies in an effort to stifle free speech. We continue to stand by and work with our advertisers through these unfortunate and unnecessary distractions.”
As more brands began to distance themselves from Tucker Carlson Tonight, Fox News released a lengthier statement on Tuesday in support of its host: “We cannot and will not allow voices like Tucker Carlson to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts from the likes of Moveon.org, Media Matters and Sleeping Giants. Attempts were made last month to bully and terrorize Tucker and his family at their home. He is now once again being threatened via Twitter by far left activist groups with deeply political motives. While we do not advocate boycotts, these same groups never target other broadcasters and operate under a grossly hypocritical double standard given their intolerance to all opposing points of view.”
Some sponsors—including Farmers Insurance, John Deere, MyPillow and Gold Bond—have publicly said they’re sticking with the show.
Carlson, meanwhile, has not backed down from his anti-immigration stance. He addressed the boycott during Monday’s broadcast, saying, “we’re not intimidated. We plan to say what’s true until the last day.”
Last night, Carlson was confronted by a guest, noted defense attorney and legal professor Alan Dershowitz, who said, “I wish you hadn’t used that language. Language like that was used to describe my grandparents and great-grandparents and probably some of yours.”
Carlson responded by saying, in part, “As I noted on Monday, that was in context of a conversation with an elected official in Tijuana about the filth of his city and he was complaining about how dirty it had become, which was a byproduct of the policy decisions pushed by the American Left. I would never describe people as inherently dirty. I don’t think they are. I’m pro-people. That’s why I’m against abortion. Strongly. I think it was clear and I think that the people who are mischaracterizing it are always welcome on the show to talk it through and to hear my side and I will hear their side because, again, this is one of the last forms in America for open conversation.”
This isn’t the first time Fox News has experienced an ad boycott. The most recent one took place in March, when a number of advertisers left Laura Ingraham’s Fox News prime time show, The Ingraham Angle, in light of her Twitter feud with Parkland High School shooting survivor and gun control activist David Hogg. It’s not clear whether those companies ever actually returned to the program.