Update: Fox News has released a new statement defending Carlson’s comments while attacking the “agenda-driven intimidation efforts” of organizations that have criticized the host.
New: Fox News issues statement as advertisers flee Tucker Carlson's show: ""We cannot and will not allow voices like Tucker Carlson to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts…" pic.twitter.com/yFlatJh8hC
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) December 18, 2018
“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,” a spokesperson for the network added in a statement provided to Rolling Stone. “We continue to stand by and work with our advertisers through these unfortunate and unnecessary distractions.”
Original post below.
Tucker Carlson wants his viewers to know that he feels sympathy for immigrants. “Nice people, no one doubts that,” he said last Thursday, echoing President Trump’s oft-repeated contention that he loves “the Mexican people.” It’s how Carlson finished this particular statement that has since caused a growing number of advertisers to dissociate themselves from the popular Fox News host. “But as an economic matter this is insane,” he continued. “It’s indefensible, so no one even tries to defend it. Instead our leaders demand that you shut up and accept this. We have a moral obligation to admit the world’s poor, they tell us, even if it makes our country poorer and dirtier and more divided.”
After the segment concluded, Fox News aired a commercial for Pacific Life. The next day, the insurance provider announced it was going to take a few weeks off from advertising on Tucker Carlson Tonight so it could “reevaluate” their relationship with the host. “As a company, we strongly disagree with Mr. Carlson’s statements,” Pacific Life wrote in a statement. “Our customer base and our workforce reflect the diversity of our great nation, something we take pride in.”
A message from Pacific Life: pic.twitter.com/bDq9hzia53
— Pacific Life (@pacificlife) December 14, 2018
Pacific Life got some company on Monday. SmileDirectClub, which advertised on Carlson’s show the previous Thursday and Friday, told Jeremy Barr of The Hollywood Reporter that they “are actively working with our media buyers to confirm that SmileDirectClub is no longer running our ads around any political opinion shows.” Not long after that, Bowflex bowed out. “We have requested that Fox News remove our ads from airing in conjunction with Tucker Carlson Tonight in the future,” the company said. NerdWallet was next, telling THR that they “will also be reevaluating any ongoing advertising with this program.”
The timing of the exodus is a little curious. Spewing anti-immigrant rhetoric isn’t a habit Carlson picked up recently; it’s been the driving force behind Tucker Carlson Tonight since the show premiered a little less than a week after Trump was elected in November 2016. But Carlson has taken it up a notch this year. In March, he talked about how “no nation, no society has ever changed this much, this fast,” in reference to the influx of Hispanic immigrants, going on to ask viewers to “consider how you would feel if that happened in your neighborhood.” In July, he warned of gypsies chopping off the heads of chickens in a small Pennsylvania town. The same month, he called out Mexico for “packing the electorate” to influence American elections. Demonizing immigrants is what Carlson does, and what he said last Thursday isn’t any different than what he’s been saying since Trump decided to invent an immigration crisis to scare people into voting for him, which is that white America is under attack by lesser-thans who don’t deserve to be here.
He isn’t going to let a few advertisers fleeing stop him, either. “The left would very much like you to stop talking and thinking about bad decisions they’ve made over the years that they happen to be profiting from,” Carlson said Monday night. “‘Shut up,’ they’re screaming, including to this show. Obviously, we won’t, and you shouldn’t either.” As for his comments last week about how immigrants will make America poor and dirty? “It’s true,” he said, defiantly.
To hammer the point home, Carlson showed clips of an interview with an elected official in Tijuana, Mexico, where a portion of the migrant caravan has been camped. “It seems that somebody’s cleaning up… garbage?” Carlson said, brow furrowed aggressively, as someone with a broom appeared behind the official. “Is there a lot of trash there?” The answer was yes, there was indeed a lot of trash at the makeshift encampment where migrants have been stranded just south of the California border. Carlson then pivoted to showing images of garbage north of the border, arguing that immigrants are wreaking havoc on the local environment. “The truth is that unregulated mass immigration has badly hurt this country’s natural landscape,” he said. “Take a trip to our southwestern deserts if you don’t believe it. Huge swaths of the region are covered with garbage and waste that degrade the soil and kill wildlife.”
Add “soil” to list of precious American hallmarks Carlson wants his viewers to believe immigrants will degrade. “The left used to care about the environment,” he continued. “The land, the water, the animals. They understood that America is beautiful because it is open and uncrowded. Not so long ago environmentalists opposed mass immigration. They knew what the costs were. They still know, but they don’t care. We do care, and we’re going to continue telling you about it. We think you have a right to know, no matter what they say.”
7. Carlson, who spent the first 10 minutes of the show arguing for the construction of a border wall, now claims to be concerned with vegetation at the border.
Yes, Tucker has long been concerned with vegetation. pic.twitter.com/Sis86zgOLM
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) December 18, 2018
Despite Carlson’s rebrand as a red-pill environmentalist, the border wall for which he advocates would ravage the biodiversity he seemed so concerned with Monday night. Habitats would be destroyed, endangered species would be prevented from migrating, flooding would be exacerbated. Earlier this week, a Trump voter wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post complaining about how the border wall would destroy the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, his “butterfly paradise.” The Trump administration doesn’t care about any of this. In October, federal officials announced they would be waiving almost 30 environmental laws in Texas to make way for the wall. “Pundits and politicians continue to call for hundreds of miles of new border walls and the expansion of waivers to cover a vastly greater swathe of the borderlands,” the Sierra Club wrote in a handout outlining the environmental impact of a wall. “Compounding the damage that existing walls and waivers have inflicted would be disastrous for the border. It is critical that those of us who care about our nation’s precious national heritage and the rule of environmental law speak out against any such assaults.”
Shortly after his show ended on Monday night, Minted, a design marketplace that had been advertising on the program, decided to bow out, as well. “We are permanently discontinuing advertising on this particular program,” the company tweeted. The departures continued on Tuesday. According to THR, Jaguar Land Rover said it plans to stop advertising on the show. Same goes for Just For Men. Then came IHOP. Then United Explorer credit card. Then SCOTTeVEST. In total, 13 advertisers have said they will no longer air commercials on Tucker Carlson Tonight, as of Tuesday afternoon.
Other companies have indicated to THR that they will continue to advertise on the show. Mitsubishi said that they don’t advertise based on “politics” and that they will “monitor the situation.” AstraZeneca promised to do the same. Bayer said that Carlson’s views “don’t necessarily reflect” their own and that they “support a culture that ensures respect, dignity and opportunity for every individual.” Sanofi, which makes Gold Bond, leaned on the fact that the contract was “negotiated far in advance.” John Deere simply said that they are “an advertiser on the Fox Network” and that their “ads appear on various shows on the network.” MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell rationalized the decision to stick with Carlson by telling the Associated Press that he makes all of his advertising decisions “based on what is best for MyPillow.”
A Fox News spokesperson told CNN that the advertisers in questions were moving their spots to other programs on the network and that “no revenue had been lost.”
This post has been updated.