Sean Hannity Goes On Vacation Amid Seth Rich Conspiracy Backlash, Advertiser Boycott
Sean Hannity speaks with a guest on FOX News Channel's 'Hannity' on May 11, 2015.

Sean Hannity Goes On Vacation Amid Seth Rich Conspiracy Backlash, Advertiser Boycott

Sean Hannity is taking a break from his Fox News show, but it’s not because he’s being forced to. On Wednesday, the host of Hannity announced that he’s taking a short leave from the conservative news show to go on vacation.

“Uh oh My ANNUAL Memorial Day long weekend starts NOW.”

The rest of his tweet poked fun at those who would likely be speculating that his abrupt absence could mean that he is being booted out of Fox News, as fellow host Bill O’Reilly was in April.

“Destroy Trump/Conservative media breathless coverage starts! Did Hannity do last show?”

In a statement to Variety and other outlets, Fox News confirmed that Sean Hannity is indeed going on vacation, “like the rest of the country,” and that the television and radio host will be back on Tuesday. The news channel warned that those who will suggest otherwise “are going to look foolish.”

Hannity’s brief absence comes amid months of turmoil that has rocked Fox News and, more recently, the backlash surrounding the host’s peddling of conspiracy theories on the murder of Seth Rich, a former staffer of the Democratic National Committee. Like some other conservative political commentators, Sean Hannity has been fueling the theory that Rich, not Russia, might have been the source of the stolen files from Hillary Clinton’s campaign that was published by WikiLeaks in 2016. According to this theory, the Clintons could have had Seth Rich killed in retaliation for releasing the DNC files to WikiLeaks.

There has been a lot of speculation about the actual circumstances surrounding Rich’s death in July of 2016. The dark theory that the former DNC employee was assassinated was supercharged by WikiLeaks’ offer of a $20,000 reward for information about the case. It was further fueled by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who seemed to imply a connection between Seth Rich’s death and the DNC information leak during an interview on a Dutch news program. However, Washington, D.C., police have stated that Rich may have been killed in an attempted robbery.

Despite this, Sean Hannity has latched onto the conspiracy theory that Seth Rich was killed because of his involvement in the DNC hack. This is despite multiple sources having already debunked the theory and the Rich family pleading with Hannity to stop spreading misleading stories about Seth.

On Tuesday, Seth Rich’s brother wrote a letter to the executive producer of Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, in which he asked the host to refrain from promoting baseless theories about the slain DNC staffer. According to CNN, Aaron Rich asked Fox News to not give a platform to Hannity, who is “known to have pushed false evidence in the past.”

“Nobody wants to solve Seth’s murder more than we do. However, providing a platform to spread potentially false, damaging information will cause us additional pain, suffering and sorrow. By airing this information, you will continue to emotionally hurt us.”

On the same day, Fox News retracted its own online story on the murder of Seth Rich. In a statement, the news channel said that the article “was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny” that it requires for all its reporting.

Still, Sean Hannity refused to relent. Following Fox News’ retraction of its Seth Rich story, Hannity fired off a couple of tweets about the murder case and the slain man’s supposed attempt to expose corruption in the Democratic National Committee.

By Friday, at least half a dozen companies had pulled their ads from Hannity. These include Cars.com, Peloton, Leesa Sleep, Crowne Plaza Hotels, Casper, and Ring home security. In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a Cars.com spokesperson said that the company has been watching the situation closely and has decided to pull their advertising from Sean Hannity’s show.

Hannity has since blamed the advertiser boycott on a liberal crusade to silence his conservative voice. In an interview with HuffPost, the Fox News host said that his detractors are trying to “ratchet up the intensity of their rationale” to get him fired.

“There’s nothing that I did, nothing that I said, except they don’t like my position politically.”

“It does not justify an attempt to get me fired,” Hannity said.

“And that’s what this is. This is an attempt to take me out. This is a kill shot.”

[Featured Image by Rob Kim/Getty Images]

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