An advertising boycott directed at Fox News host Tucker Carlson gained momentum after a second tape emerged of the ring-wing pundit using profane and disparaging language about women and minorities. By Thursday evening, two companies — Sheex bedding and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca — had added their names to a growing tally of companies that have yanked advertisements from his broadcast.
The advertisers range from car insurance companies to restaurants, many of which pulled support from Carlson’s show when he made controversial comments about immigration in December 2018. Prominent names include Farmer’s Insurance, Jaguar Land Rover, Red Lobster, IHOP and more. Media Matters For America, the left-wing media watchdog that first surfaced the offensive recordings, tallied more than 30 companies that had released statements pulling support from the program. Remaining advertisers — including Progressive Insurance and Bayer — are facing pressure to follow suit.
Some advertisers indicated they wouldn’t be advertising now or in the future, while other companies released tempered statements that left room for a return to the Fox News program. It’s unclear how much money the combined scandals have cost the conservative media company. Tucker Carlson Tonight raked in $97 million in advertising revenue in the first six months of 2018, according to Forbes, and has continued to be a ratings boon for the network despite the most recent controversy. In 2017, a 30-second commercial on the program cost roughly $13,500.
Media Matters For America has teased the release of more inflammatory audio dumps, which come courtesy of calls Carlson made to Bubba the Love Sponge’s shock-jock radio show between 2006 and 2011. The deep dive revealed recordings of Carlson defending a polygamist found guilty of child rape. He also called women “primitive” and described Iraq as “a crappy place filled” with “semiliterate primitive monkeys.” In other recordings, he questioned the blackness of former President Barack Obama and said Martha Stewart’s daughter was a “c*nt” who needed a “spanking.”
Carlson, meanwhile, has refused to apologize or express contrition for his remarks. The day after the first tapes were released he appeared on his news show and thanked Fox News for its support during what he characterized as a politically motivated attack orchestrated by left-wing critics and Twitter “mobs.”
“First, Fox News is behind us as they have been since the very first day,” Carlson said. “Toughness is a rare quality in a TV network, and we are grateful for that. Second, we’ve always apologized when we’re wrong and will continue to do that. that’s what decent people do: They apologize. But we will never bow to the mob, ever, no matter what.”
He continued: “It’s pointless to try to explain how the words were spoken in jest, or taken out of context, or in any case bear no resemblance to what you actually think, or would want for the country.”
Carlson was last targeted in an advertising boycott in December 2018 when he said immigration “makes our country poorer, and dirtier, and more divided.”