Advertisers are abandoning Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson amid outrage over his remarks about immigrants making the US “poorer and dirtier” and “divided”.
Over a dozen companies, including insurer Pacific Life and finance site NerdWallet, have dropped the show over Mr Carlson’s controversial language.
He first made the remarks on Thursday and defended his rhetoric on Monday.
Fox News has called it an attempt by left-wing activists to “weaponise social media” and “stifle free speech”.
On his programme, Tucker Carlson Tonight, last Thursday, Mr Carlson said the US needed “more scientists and skilled engineers but that’s not what we’re getting”.
The conservative host claimed immigration was “indefensible” economically.
“Our leaders demand that you shut up and accept this. We have a moral obligation to admit the world’s poor, they tell us, even if it makes our own country poorer and dirtier and more divided.”
Insurance company Pacific Life pulled advertising from Mr Carlson’s show last week after facing online criticism for having an ad air after the host’s immigration monologue.
“We strongly disagree with Mr Carlson’s statements,” Pacific Life tweeted on Friday. “We will not be advertising on Mr Carlson’s show in the coming weeks as we re-evaluate our relationship with his programme.”
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Despite the mounting backlash, the anchor defended his statements on Monday, saying he would not be intimidated by “enforcers scream[ing], ‘Racist,’ on Twitter”.
Since Monday, personal finance company Nerd Wallet has also said in a statement to US media that it will be “re-evaluating any ongoing advertising” on Mr Carlson’s programme.
Minted, a design marketplace website, tweeted on Monday that it would be “permanently discontinuing” advertising on Mr Carlson’s programme over the remarks.
Here are the other companies who are pulling commercials, according to the Hollywood Reporter:
- Job website Indeed
- Fitness brand Bowflex and its parent company Nautilus
- Genealogy site Ancestry.com
- Dental brand SmileDirectClub
- IHOP restaurants
- Personal care brand Just for Men
- Jaguar Land Rover
- United Explorer credit card
- Retirement company Voya Financial
- Zenni Optical
- Clothing brand ScotteVest
The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), the largest immigration legal nonprofit in Texas, has also called on all advertisers to stop supporting Mr Carlson’s show.
However, not all of Mr Carlson’s advertisers have opted out – Mitsubishi and Farmers Insurance told US media they did not consider politics when purchasing ads.
Mr Carlson’s biggest advertising dollars are also still coming in, according to the Associated Press, and some experts say this boycott only amounts to short-term damage.
In a statement, a Fox official told US media: “It is a shame that left-wing advocacy groups, under the guise of being supposed ‘media watchdogs’, weaponise social media against companies in an effort to stifle free speech.”
Fox News anchors have faced ad boycotts for controversial comments before.
Earlier this year, host Laura Ingraham lost advertisers for mocking David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland high school shooting.