Editor’s note: Fox News has reached out to the Inquisitr with the following statements.
“Sean Hannity has the unequivocal support of Fox News.”
“Like the rest of the country, Sean Hannity is taking a vacation for Memorial Day weekend and will be back on Tuesday. Those who suggest otherwise are going to look foolish.”
As Sean Hannity announced that he would be taking an extended Memorial Day vacation, rumors swirled over what this could mean for the Fox News host, who had recently lost advertisers after making controversial statements about the murder of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich. According to the Atlantic, Fox News recently retracted a story published on their website on May 16 that echoed claims that Rich was murdered as a result of alleged connections to WikiLeaks made by Sean Hannity on his show that same day.
On the day of the May 23 retraction, Hannity stated on his show that he would no longer report on Seth Rich’s murder, but would keep “trying to find the truth.” Although Fox News claims that they support Hannity, the news host’s unusual behavior over the past week suggests that trouble may be brewing.
Hannity, an avid Twitter user, hasn’t tweeted since May 25. Although he claimed on Twitter that his Memorial Day weekend vacation was an annual event, parallels between Hannity’s choice to take a vacation amid trouble and former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s decision to do the same shortly before being fired can be drawn.
The Atlantic reports that several companies have removed their advertisements from the Sean Hannity Show, including Crowne Plaza Hotels, Peloton bicycles, Leesa Sleep, Ring home security, Cars.com, and Casper. Hannity believes that these advertisers decided to pull commercials from his show as a result of a campaign by Media Matters For America (MMFA) to silence him, according to the Inquisitr. Hannity referred to MMFA’s efforts as “liberal fascism” and tweeted about the organization’s connections to billionaire George Soros.
Sean Hannity’s Claims About The Murder Of Seth Rich
According to the Los Angeles Times, Sean Hannity has repeatedly questioned the official version of events surrounding Seth Rich’s death, which is that the DNC staffer was killed as a result of a botched robbery. Along with questioning these claims, Hannity has also supported the controversial theory that Rich was killed because he allegedly leaked emails to WikiLeaks. Sean Hannity has asserted that if this theory is true, it means that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. On May 23, Hannity retweeted a tweet made by alleged Seth Rich associate Kim Dotcom, in which Dotcom stated that “There is no Russia collusion/hacking.”
On May 16, Fox News published an article on their website that seemed to agree with Hannity’s claims. According to the Los Angeles Times, the article asserted that an FBI forensics examination demonstrated that Seth Rich had leaked emails to WikiLeaks before his murder. Fox News cited private investigator Rod Wheeler as the source of this information. In their May 23 retraction of the story, Fox stated that Wheeler had backtracked his statements. WikiLeaks has neither confirmed nor denied the claims.
Fox’s Retraction And Hannity’s Announcement
After Fox retracted the story, Hannity announced on his show that he would no longer cover the Seth Rich story because it was too upsetting to Rich’s family. Hannity stated that he had been communicating with Seth’s brother, Aaron Rich, and decided that it was best to cease reporting on the story, stating, “Out of respect for the family’s wishes for now, I am not discussing this matter at this time.” Hannity claims that he made this decision on his own and was not pressured by Fox. However, he acknowledged the pressure that Media Matters For America has placed on advertisers to pull their support for the Sean Hannity Show.
On Twitter, Hannity seemed less apologetic about his on-air statements and reassured his audience that he would continue investigating the facts of the case. Amid the controversy, Hannity also announced that he would be taking a long Memorial Day vacation and also assured his fans on Twitter that this was routine for him and even mocked those who view the timing of this vacation with skepticism.
Hannity And Fox News
Sean Hannity is one of the biggest names on Fox News, raking in millions of dollars each year in ad revenue, reports the Atlantic. According to Kantar Media, Hannity’s show brought in $65.7 million in 2016 and $56.1 million in 2015. As such, Fox News may not be so quick to get rid of him. However, with advertisers pulling their support, Hannity may not be able to generate his usual level of ad revenue for Fox News.
New Career At OAN?
One America News (OAN) is a news network owned by Herring Networks, Inc., an independent, family-owned media company that was established in 2004 and operates mainly in California and Washington, D.C. For some, OAN is a more conservative alternative to Fox News. One America News has been largely focused on the Seth Rich story and has even put up a $250,000 reward for anyone who gives information that helps solve the murder case.
Interestingly, Sean Hannity has chosen to follow Robert Herring, the CEO of One America News, on Twitter. Could Hannity be eyeing a move to a network that espouses views that are more in line with his opinions? Herring has been very vocal on Twitter about the case of Seth Rich and the apparent hypocrisy of Democrats who would rather focus on investigating Russia. Herring has also advertised an OAN special report on Seth Rich entitled “The Mysterious Death Of Seth Rich.”
The world will likely be left in the dark regarding the fate of Sean Hannity and his future on Fox News until he comes back from his Memorial Day vacation. However, checking Hannity’s Twitter posts and new follows may shed some light on the Fox News host’s thinking.
[Featured Image by Douglas C. Pizac/AP Images]