Fox News shows lose advertisers following accusations of hosts making bigoted comments about women, Muslims and Rep. Omar
Some advertisers are backing away from Tucker Carlson and Jeanine Pirro's Fox News shows after the two high-profile hosts were accused of making bigoted statements, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Carlson is under fire for misogynistic, homophobic and racist comments unearthed from past radio appearances. Pirro came under scrutiny for comments she made about Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who is Muslim. This week, at least five companies have pulled their support.
Beginning Sunday, Media Matters for America, a liberal watchdog group that monitors conservative media, released several waves of audio of Carlson's 2006-to 2011 appearances on the "Bubba the Love Sponge Show," a Tampa, Florida-based radio show.
In one set of recordings, Carlson made statements about child rape and comments that could be construed as misogynist.
"If you're talking to a feminist and she's giving you, 'Well, you know men really need to be more sensitive,' no actually, men don't need to be more sensitive. You just need to be quiet and do what you're told," he is heard saying in one recording.
In another release of Carlson's appearances compiled by Media Matters, Carlson is heard calling Iraq a "crappy place filled with a bunch of, you know, semiliterate primitive monkeys" and jokingly using a homophobic slur.
SHEEX, a bedding company, told The Hollywood Reporter that "due to the inappropriate statements of Tucker Carlson that have recently come to light, SHEEX has made the decision to cease advertising on his television program, Tucker Carlson Tonight."
Pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca tweeted on Monday that it had ceased advertising on his show and would not do so in the future.
In a statement to The Washington Post this week, Carlson was defiant. "Media Matters caught me saying something naughty on a radio show more than a decade ago," he said. "Rather than express the usual ritual contrition, how about this: I'm on television every weeknight live for an hour. If you want to know what I think, you can watch. Anyone who disagrees with my views is welcome to come on and explain why."
Pirro, meanwhile, has earned condemnation - including a rebuke from Fox News - for insinuating on Saturday's edition of her show that Omar, who has criticized Israel, did not support the Constitution because she was Muslim and wore a hijab.
"She's not getting this anti-Israel sentiment doctrine from the Democrat Party," Pirro said on Saturday. "So if it's not rooted in the party, where is she getting it from? Think about it. Omar wears a hijab, which according to the Koran 33:59, tells women to cover so they won't get molested. Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?"
Pirro's remarks were condemned as Islamophobic.
"We absolutely condemn Ms. Pirro's comments, which are offensive and completely contrary to our values," a spokesperson for Letgo, a website for buying and selling used goods, told THR. "We are in the process of ensuring our ads will no longer run during her show."
NerdWallet also told THR that "we're no longer advertising on this show and don't have plans to in the future".
Novo Nordisk, another pharmaceutical company, told The Post it was "re-evaluating" its ads on Pirro's show.
"We advertise across many cable networks to raise awareness of our medicines and the disease they treat," company spokesman Ken Inchausti said in a statement. "We respect each person's right to express their thinking and beliefs, however, we are re-evaluating our advertising on this program at this time."
He confirmed that Novo Nordisk will continue to advertise elsewhere on Fox News.
A spokeswoman for Fox News did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
After Saturday's remarks caused a firestorm, Pirro responded in a statement. "I've seen a lot of comments about my opening statement from Saturday night's show and I did not call Rep. Omar un-American," she said. 'My intention was to ask a question and start a debate, but of course because one is Muslim does not mean you don't support the Constitution. I invite Rep. Omar to come on my show any time to discuss all of the important issues facing America today."
Media Matters planned a protest outside Fox News's Manhattan headquarters on Wednesday morning to pressure advertisers into abandoning the network. CNN reports that network executives were attempting to woo prospective advertisers that same day. The Women's March and Ultra Violet, as well as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said on Twitter that their organizations would join the protest in New York.
Some protesters held signs saying "Drop Fox" or "Fox News is Bad for Business" as a group walked in front of Fox News's building.
Media Matters also has begun an activist hashtag campaign, #DropFox, that aims to convince advertisers through social media to pull their money from Fox News.
This article was written by Kayla Epstein, a reporter for The Washington Post. Shivani Vora contributed to this report from New York.