'Tucker Carlson Tonight' Loses at Least 26 Advertisers After Immigration Comment
The host defended his comments last night and his network pushed back.
At least 26 corporations have stopped advertising on Tucker Carlson's primetime Fox News show in response to a comment he made on Dec. 13 about immigration, with Norwegian Cruise Lines, Red Lobster, Farmers Insurance, Lexus/Toyota, Mint Mobile, Graze snacks, Samsung, SodaStream, Pfizer's Robitussin and SanDisk the latest companies to tell The Hollywood Reporter that they are pulling future advertising from the show.
"Toyota and Lexus have suspended all advertising on this particular program until further notice," a Lexus spokesperson said last week.
"Mint Mobile let me know that they pulled advertising from the show," a company spokesperson said last week.
"We've asked our advertising partner to avoid this show in future as it goes against our brand values," a Graze spokesperson said last week.
"We do not have any advertising planned at this time, for this program," a spokesperson for Samsung, which has advertised seven times in the last two weeks, said.
"We are no longer advertising on the program," said a spokesperson for Pfizer, another regular advertiser, said last week.
"SodaStream has asked Fox to remove us from this time slot," a spokesperson said last week. "Since this is part of a national cable media buy, some of our ads air on Fox News. However, airing times have shifted in some markets based on inventory, and those airings should not be considered an endorsement of any kind."
"We embrace diversity and inclusion, and work with advertising partners who share our core values," said a Western Digital/SanDisk spokesperson.
Before last Wednesday, the following brands announced plans to stop advertising on Tucker Carlson Tonight: CareerBuilder, Takeda Pharmaceuticals (makers of Entyvio), TD Ameritrade, IHOP, the United Explorer credit card, Just For Men, Jaguar Land Rover, Ancestry.com, SCOTTeVEST, Zenni Optical, Voya Financial, Bowflex, SmileDirectClub, NerdWallet, Minted, Pacific Life insurance and Indeed.com (which took action a month ago).
A Takeda spokesperson told THR on Tuesday night that all advertisements for medical treatment products like Entyvio, a regular presence on Carlson's show, have been pulled: "We have pulled our advertising off of Tucker’s show."
A spokesperson for online employment website CareerBuilder said that advertising has been pulled from Carlson's show and issued the following statement: "Our purpose at CareerBuilder is to help people build a life that works. Not some people. All people. People looking for jobs. And people looking to hire people who are looking for jobs. Which is why, last Friday, we permanently suspended advertising on some Fox programming, including Tucker Carlson Tonight. We will continue to advertise on programs that align with who we are and what we value."
A spokesperson for TD Ameritrade said Tuesday evening that it intends to remain politically neutral: "Once news broke about this issue, we instructed our media buying team to avoid the show in the future. This is a decision that we believe is in-line with the strong values of our organization — one of which is People Matter."
“At our core, we stand for welcoming folks from all backgrounds and beliefs into our restaurants and continually evaluate ad placements to ensure they align with our values," a spokesperson for IHOP told THR on Tuesday afternoon. "In this case, we will no longer be advertising on this show.”
"We have stopped advertising on the Tucker Carlson Tonight show," said a spokesperson for the United Explorer credit card, which was advertised twice last week on Carlson's show.
"Just For Men has no further plans to advertise on Tucker Carlson's show," a company spokesperson said earlier on Tuesday afternoon. "The brand is always considering ways to remain responsible, and this includes aligning with partners who share our brand value."
A spokesperson for Jaguar Land Rover North America, which advertised the Jaguar brand on Carlson's show last week and Land Rover on Monday night, told THR on Tuesday: "Jaguar Land Rover has rarely advertised on the show and does not have any plans for it going forward."
On Tuesday morning, a spokesperson for genealogy company Ancestry.com, which advertised twice on Carlson's Friday night show, said: "We are not advertising at this time." The decision went into effect Monday morning.
"We have instructed our media buyers to pull any future ads from that program," said Marshall Rule, the president of clothing company SCOTTeVEST, which advertised twice last week. "However, since we buy on remnant, there may be a few that are already scheduled and can't be pulled down."
Nautilus Inc., parent company of fitness training equipment brand Bowflex, told THR on Monday that it has pulled advertising from the show. "We can confirm that Nautilus, Inc., parent company for Bowflex, has pulled its ads from the Tucker Carlson Tonight show," the company said. "We buy media broadly across many news networks, and do not target ads based on specific programs or hosts. However, we have requested that Fox News remove our ads from airing in conjunction with Tucker Carlson Tonight in the future. Aside from our decision to remove our ads from his show, we have no other association or affiliation with Mr. Carlson."
The controversy and advertiser backlash began on Dec. 13, when Carlson said on Tucker Carlson Tonight that immigration makes the United States "dirtier," a comment he did not back away from on his Monday night show. ("It's true," he said, after replaying the clip.)
Earlier on Monday afternoon, a spokesperson for SmileDirectClub, which, like Bowflex, advertised on Carlson's Thursday and Friday night shows, said the company is taking steps to prevent advertising on his show — among other "political opinion" shows — in the future.
"We are actively working with our media buyers to confirm that SmileDirectClub is no longer running our ads around any political opinion shows," the spokesperson said.
On Monday night, personal finance website NerdWallet told THR it was "pulling advertising" from Carlson's show and will "be reevaluating any ongoing advertising with this program." A company spokesperson said, "Whenever we receive feedback about advertising on specific programs, we evaluate it on a case-by-case basis. If our review determines that a certain show’s content doesn't align with our company values, we take commensurate and appropriate action."
Minted, an online design marketplace, did not respond to several emailed requests for comment — beginning Friday — but announced Monday night on Twitter that it is "permanently discontinued advertising" advertising on Carlson's show. "We do not agree with Mr. Carlson's comments and his opinions are not consistent with the values we hold at Minted," added the company, which advertised on his Monday night program.
Voya Financial, which advertised most recently on Carlson's Dec. 7 show, said on Twitter that it has no scheduled advertising placements on the show: "We’re committed to diversity, inclusion and equality – and respect for all individuals."
A spokesperson for Zenni Optical, which advertised on Carlson's Monday night show, said the company's ads were pulled "effective yesterday."
Pacific Life Insurance Company was the first to suspend advertising on Carlson's show in response to his comment. "As a company, we strongly disagree with Mr. Carlson's statements," it said Friday. "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.”
Fox News responded to the advertiser effort on Friday by releasing the following statement: "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."
On Tuesday, the network released a longer statement: "We cannot and will not allow voices like Tucker Carlson to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts from the likes of MoveOn.org, Media Matters and Sleeping Giants. Attempts were made last month to bully and terrorize Tucker and his family at their home. He is now once again being threatened via Twitter by far-left activist groups with deeply political motives. While we do not advocate boycotts, these same groups never target other broadcasters and operate under a grossly hypocritical double standard given their intolerance to all opposing points of view."
Carlson indirectly addressed the backlash during his Monday night show, after replaying his Thursday night comments about the downside of immigration and doubling-down on them. "That's what we said. It's true," Carlson said. "Those who won't shut up get silenced. ... The enforcers scream 'Racist!' on Twitter until everybody gets intimidated and changes the subject to the Russia investigation or some other distraction. It's a tactic, a well-worn one. Nobody thinks it's real. And it won't work with this show. We're not intimidated. We plan to try to say what's true until the last day."
Employment-related search engine Indeed.com on Monday confirmed that it stopped advertising on Carlson's show a month ago. "Indeed's mission is to help people get jobs," a spokesperson said in a statement. "As a company, we are nonpartisan — our site is for everyone, regardless of background or beliefs. Indeed has not advertised on the Tucker Carlson Tonight program in over a month, and has no plans to do so in the future."
Some advertisers have released statements to THR suggesting they will continue advertising on Carlson's show.
A spokesperson for Bayer, which produces Alka-Seltzer Plus, said: "Opinions or views expressed by the network’s news programs or their hosts are solely those of the network, and do not necessarily reflect those of Bayer. Given the wide diversity of media today and wide range of public opinion on any given issue, it would be an impossible task to find a major television or radio network whose entire programming schedule appeals to all audiences. While our programming environment choices may not always be supported by all individuals, we have very specific guidelines to ensure our commercials air in acceptable content. That being said, we regularly evaluate our advertising placements and make sound decisions to continue or discontinue based upon our beliefs, values and ethical considerations. Bayer supports a culture that ensures respect, dignity and opportunity for every individual. We also value the opinions of our consumers, and take them into consideration when making advertising placement decisions."
A spokesperson for Sanofi, which produces Gold Bond, said: "As you may be aware, Sanofi purchases advertising time and space in contracts negotiated far in advance and our advertising is never an endorsement of a show and/or the content of a show." (An ad for the company's Diabetics' Dry Skin Relief product ran on last Thursday's show.)
A spokesperson for John Deere, a significant Tucker Carlson Tonight advertiser, said: "John Deere is an advertiser on the Fox Network. Our ads appear on various shows on the network."
A spokesperson for pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, another prominent advertiser, said Tuesday: "Decisions regarding our advertising purchases are primarily made based on customer viewership and demographic relevance in order to educate patients. The content and opinions of the outlets, networks or websites for which we advertise are not reflective of our views or values as a company. However, as a standard practice, we regularly monitor our media programming to ensure its aligned to our corporate values. As such, we will continue to assess our advertising purchases regarding the heightened attention surrounding this matter."
One prominent advertiser, Mitsubishi, said it will "adjust" the company's advertising, if needed. "Our advertising media spend is determined based on demographics and psychographics, not politics," a spokesperson said. "Our strategic marketing intent is to share our key product news with consumers through a variety of media channels. We will monitor the situation and adjust our advertising if necessary.”