Prominent insurance company Pacific Life is pausing and reevaluating its advertising relationship with Tucker Carlson’s primetime Fox News show after a Thursday night segment during which he suggested that mass immigration makes the United States “dirtier.”
“Pacific Life’s national advertising campaign runs on numerous networks and cable stations and on a variety of news, business and sports programs,” the company said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter (that echoed a comment on Twitter). “One of our ads appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show last night following a segment where Mr. Carlson made a number of statements regarding immigration.”
Pacific Life continued: “As a company, we strongly disagree with Mr. Carlson’s statements. Our customer base and our workforce reflect the diversity of our great nation, something we take great pride in. We will not be advertising on Mr. Carlson’s show in the coming weeks as we reevaluate our relationship with his program.”
The company has been advertising on the show for “just over one year,” and does not advertise on other Fox News shows at this time, a spokesman said.
Carlson, who is no stranger to controversy, speaks regularly on Tucker Carlson Tonight about both the alleged danger and economic burden brought on by immigration.
On Thursday night, he said that even immigration advocates don’t make a case for the economic benefits of bringing in low-skilled and -educated workers. “Nice people, no one doubts that, but as an economic matter, this is insane,” he said. “It’s indefensible, so nobody 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 own country poorer, and dirtier, and more divided. Immigration is a form of atonement. Previous leaders of our country committed sins; we must pay for those sins by welcoming an endless chain of migrant caravans.”
Carlson has not previously sustained a longterm advertising boycott effort, though his primetime counterpart, Laura Ingraham, faced advertiser revolts following comments made about both child detention centers (“essentially summer camps”) and former Parkland high school student David Hogg.
“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,” a Fox News spokesperson said in a statement. (Media Matters for America called attention to the comment on Thursday night.)
A spokesman for Farmers Insurance, which also advertised during Thursday night’s episode, provided a statement on Friday night suggesting it’s not pulling out. “Farmers invests in advertising across a broad range of networks and programs that reflect the diversity of opinions and viewpoints found across the nation,” he said. “Advertising decisions made by Farmers should not be construed to be an endorsement of any kind as to a show’s content or the individuals appearing on the show.”
SmileDirectClub, which advertised on Carlson’s Thursday and Friday night shows, indicated to THR on Monday that it will no longer do so. “We are actively working with our media buyers to confirm that SmileDirectClub is no longer running our ads around any political opinion shows,” a spokesperson said.
Dec. 14, 5:13 p.m.: Updated to include statement from Farmers Insurance
Dec. 17, 1:27 p.m.: Updated to include statement from SmileDirectClub.