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Fox News personality Sean Hannity used his radio show on Monday to encourage his supporters to stop breaking their Keurig coffee machines in protest of a decision by the company to stop airing ads on Hannity’s nightly television show, part of a larger advertiser backlash against the cable host.
The backlash-to-the-backlash began on Saturday, after Keurig responded on Twitter to an appeal from Angelo Carusone, president of the left-leaning media watchdog Media Matters for America. “We worked with our media partner and Fox News to stop our ad from airing during the Sean Hannity Show,” the company said on Twitter.
Hannity said the Keurig-smashing videos were funny, but that the coffee-maker maker was duped by Media Matters. He also said he’s a fan of Keurig coffee and owns five of the company’s products.
On Monday, Keurig CEO Bob Gamgort apologized to his employees — rather than to Hannity — for the way the message was conveyed. “I apologize for any negativity that you have experienced as a result of this situation and assure you that we will learn and improve going forward,” he wrote. Gamgort reminded staffers that the company advertises on all the major cable channels, rather than just Fox News.
“I accept the apology of the Keurig CEO,” Hannity said. “Frankly, I think they were victims of this group they knew nothing about. … I feel sorry that they were dragged into politics.”
Hannity also said he will replace the Keurig coffee machines smashed by his supporters. He expressed concern that the backlash to Keurig’s tweet could hurt the company and its employees.
Hannity said he’s been targeted by groups like Media Matters for about a year, but that the effort picked up over the weekend in response to his coverage of the allegations of sexual misconduct lodged last week against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
“The goal at the end of the day is to silence every conservative voice that they possibly can,” he said. He defended his Moore coverage by saying, “I believe in the presumption of innocence for every American.”
Hannity repeated what Carusone told The Hollywood Reporter on Monday afternoon: that Keurig is not actually a major advertiser on his show.
Keurig is not the only company to have publicly pledged over the last few days to either discontinue advertising on Hannity’s show or to make sure that existing protocols against advertising on the show were working. Hubble Contacts, which Carusone said is a bigger advertiser than Keurig, has said the company will not advertise on his show in the future. HelloFresh has said their ads were not intended to run on the show.
Carusone said the quality of Hannity’s advertisers has been on the decline for the last few months, which will likely depress prices.
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