- Some advertisers are removing their ads from Sean Hannity’s Fox News show in response to his coverage of the sexual-misconduct allegations against Roy Moore, the Republican US Senate candidate in Alabama.
- The list of advertisers includes Keurig, Cadillac, AARP, and Nature’s Bounty, among others.
The Fox News host Sean Hannity is facing heat after several brands pulled their ads from his show.
A wave of advertisers announced they would pull spots from “Hannity” following the host’s interview on Friday with Roy Moore in which they discussed allegations that Moore engaged in sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old and pursued relationships with other teenagers when he was in his 30s.
Some media observers have noted that Hannity directly asked about the allegations. But critics say Hannity went too easy on Moore — whom he supported in the Alabama Senate primary — saying he appeared to agree with a characterization of some of the conduct as “consensual.”
Amid the left-wing media watchdog Media Matters urging sponsors to pull ads, Keurig, Realtor.com, Eloquii, 23andMe, Nature’s Bounty, and E-Trade all announced over the weekend that they had no plans to advertise on Hannity’s Fox News show.
More recently, brands such as Mercedes-Benz have jumped on the bandwagon, even as others such as MyPillow remain unfazed.
Brands distancing themselves from politically or otherwise sensitive issues is nothing new. Several big-name advertisers were conspicuously absent from Megyn Kelly’s interview in June with Alex Jones, the right-wing provocateur and conspiracy-monger.
Similarly, in April, BMW, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, and Lexus were among the brands that pulled their ads from “The O’Reilly Factor” amid a wave of sexual-harassment allegations against its host, Bill O’Reilly.
There has also been increasing consumer backlash to brands taking positions.
But these emotional reactions are unprecedented, according to Canvs, a company that measures viewers’ qualitative responses to content. It looks at all the spoken words about shows across social media and maps viewers’ reactions with a range of 42 emotions.
“Unlike most emotional conversations about TV, brands have been raised to the forefront of the discussion surrounding ‘Hannity,'” a Canvs analyst told Business Insider. “These brand-driven viewer emotional reactions are really unprecedented when you look at any show on TV.”
Still, Hannity has seen his ratings jump since Fox News moved him to a different time slot last month. He was already one of the highest-rated personalities in cable news.
He has also weathered previous boycott calls by Media Matters, partially by rallying his viewers and supporters, who started a #BoycottKeurig campaign over the weekend and shared videos of themselves destroying the coffee machines.
On Monday, Realtor.com deleted an initial tweet about pulling the ads, and Keurig’s CEO apologized for “taking sides.”
“The action is key because that is what will have a financial effect on Hannity’s show, not the messaging that companies use,” said Angelo Carusone, the president of Media Matters.
Carusone added that he was surprised that Realtor.com made a statement at all, considering the company is owned by Fox News’ chairman, Rupert Murdoch.
Business Insider asked several other brands who have advertised on Hannity’s show over the past few months about their stances and whether they plan to do so in the future.