The departure of sponsors from Carlson’s show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, actually began months ago but accelerated in the days following Monday’s show. In that episode, Carlson, speaking about the Black Lives Matter protesters and the George Floyd protests, told his audience that “they” are “coming for you.”
“This may be a lot of things, this moment we are living through. But it is definitely not about black lives, and remember that when they come for you. And at this rate, they will,” he said at the time.
Fox News, for its part, has since gone on to clarify what the host said, telling the audience that by “they” he meant Democratic leaders, not the protesters.
Advertisers do not seem to be accepting the media company’s clarification.
Already the Walt Disney Company, Papa John’s, Poshmark, and T-Mobile have cut ties with the program.
The Walt Disney Company, for example, said that a third-party advertising contractor had purchased at least 29 ads on Carlson’s show. However, the company said that it has since asked the media agency to stop running ads on Carlson’s show.
Papa John’s, which was itself embroiled in controversy two years ago following its then-CEO, John Schnatter, being caught on tape making a racial slur, has also backed off from Carlson’s show. However, the company clarified that it was pulling advertising from all opinion-based shows. Papa John’s had also run ads on left-leaning shows, such as The Rachel Maddow Show and CNN Tonight With Don Lemon before pulling from opinion-based shows.
“Placement of advertising is not intended to be an endorsement of any specific programming or commentary,” the company said in a statement.
Cellular carrier T-Mobile announced its separation from Carlson’s show in a Twitter exchange. Media watchdog group Sleeping Giants pointed out that ads for the carrier had run on Carlson’s show. In response, the company tweeted that it hadn’t run ads on Carlson’s show since “early May” and had canceled all future ads.
“We will continue to support those who stand against racial injustice,” the company said in a tweet.
Steven Tristan Young, the chief marketing officer of Poshmark, a clearinghouse for buying and selling used clothes, said in a statement that the company “[does] not agree with the comments he made on his show and stand in solidarity with those who seek to advance racial justice and equality.”
Fox News reported that all national ads — and associated revenue — moved from Carlson’s show have moved to other programs, and that Fox News has not lost revenue as a result.