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Advertisers are dropping Tucker Carlson for demonizing immigrants

The Fox News pundit appears to have crossed a line for some of his advertisers. Two brands are backing away–but will they be back?

Advertisers are dropping Tucker Carlson for demonizing immigrants
[Photo: Flickr user Gage Skidmore]

Tucker Carlson may or may not be a white nationalist, but he certainly plays one on TV.

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Just this year alone, the ever-bloviating pundit with permanently perplexed facial paralysis has complained that white people aren’t “designed” to live around immigrant communities, tried to disprove the idea that diversity is a virtue, and earned shout-outs from Richard Spencer, the prominent white nationalist who earned plaudits in 2016 from the Los Angeles Times and others for not dressing like a hobo clown. Prompted by media watchdogs such as Sleeping Giants and Jordan Uhl, however, some advertisers have become uncomfortable supporting Carlson’s most recent rant.

Fox News’s professionally angry propagandist began last Thursday’s show railing against immigrants in general, claiming that they make America “poorer, dirtier, and more divided.” Jordan Uhl, who works with MoveOn.org and has a large Twitter following, tweeted out a clip of the performance and tagged the financial agency Pacific Life, whose advertisement ran on Fox News immediately following the rant. Whether spurred on by Uhl’s specific, popular tweet or an overall online outcry, Pacific Life announced on Friday that it was pulling its ads from Carlson’s show to “reevaluate” this business relationship.

Uhl and Sleeping Giants continued tweeting the clip of the show at other Carlson advertisers through the week to gauge whether they, too, perhaps felt uncomfortable supporting Carlson’s attack on immigrants.

On Monday afternoon, another advertiser, the job site Indeed, announced it had no plans to advertise on Carlson’s show in the future.

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In a statement, Fox News had this to say about the matter: “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.”

The only problem with efforts to boycott Fox News hosts, whether it’s Laura Ingraham after she mocked Parkland survivor and activist David Hogg’s grades, or Sean Hannity after his spirited defense of alleged child molester Roy Moore, is that they don’t always stick. As Fast Company reported last week in a story about Dollar Shave Club:

In the six days after Hannity’s comments about Roy Moore, at least 17 other advertisers either cut ties or distanced themselves from [Hannity’s] programs. Four weeks later, Moore lost the election; the social media outrage train chugged on to other destinations. And Dollar Shave Club? You may not have noticed: It went right back to advertising on Sean Hannity’s radio show.

It’s relatively easy during a moment of widespread, urgent outrage to use vague, non-binding language like Pacific Life and Indeed do to win some hero points from left-leaning observers. The difficult part is having the integrity to maintain your position on issues such as whether immigrants are people or whether child molesters should be shunned, once the outrage has died down. So far, Dollar Shave Club hasn’t done so. We’ll be watching Pacific Life and Indeed to see whether they stick to their guns on this one.

UPDATE: A third and fourth company, Smile Direct Club and Bowflex, have now ceased advertising with Tucker Carlson.

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