At least eight companies have pulled their advertisements from Sean Hannity's show on Fox News following criticism about the way he handled allegations of sexual misconduct by Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Last week, a report by the Washington Post alleged that Moore initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was in his thirties. The story, which was based on interviews with over 30 individuals, also alleges that Moore pursued other relationships with women under the age of 18 over the years. Moore has vehemently and repeatedly denied the allegations.
Keurig, Realtor.com, DNA-testing service 23andMe, plus-size clothing company Eloquii, and vitamin company Nature's Bounty all announced their decisions to pull their ads over the weekend. Volvo, Hebrew National, and several other brands joined the fray on Monday.
On Thursday, after the Post's story on Moore was published, Hannity told viewers not to rush to judgment about the allegations. "Every single person in this country deserves the presumption of innocence," he said on his Fox News show. The following day, Moore appeared on Hannity's radio show and denied the allegations.
None of the companies that pulled ads directly cited Hannity's coverage, but most of their statements were made in Twitter threads responding to complaints about their respective advertising relationships with the Fox host.
"Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We are adjusting our media buy to no longer include this show placement," Realtor.com tweeted in response to a tweet critical of Hannity.
On Monday, Volvo USA responded to criticism on Twitter, reiterating that the auto company had spoken with its media agency and "advised them to cease advertising on the show."
A spokesperson for Conagra Brands, which owns hot dog company Hebrew National, Reddi-Wip, and Marie Callender's, told Business Insider that it had "removed Hannity from our advertising plans for all Conagra brands." Hebrew National also said on Twitter that "our advertising is not intended to be an endorsement of or sponsorship of any particular program."
After receiving inquiries, companies like 23andMe and Elouqii said Friday that they would not be advertising on the show. "Hannity is blocked from our advertising list," Elouqii's said in a tweet.
Keurig was one of the most prominent and divisive companies to yank its ads off the program, prompting angry Hannity fans to start #BoycottKeurig campaign on social media, where they posted videos of themselves destroying their Keurig coffee machines.
On Monday, Keurig's CEO apologized for "taking sides" and, in a company email obtained by the Washington Post, seemed to imply that the company's initial Twitter response was mishandled.
"The catalyst for the current situation was commentary made by Sean Hannity on his TV and radio programs last week, which sparked a significant number of consumer complaints directed to us as advertisers on his TV program," Keurig chief executive Bob Gamgort wrote employees. "Hannity himself later apologized for his comments in his own tweet: 'As I said on TV tonight, I apologize when I misspoke and was not totally clear earlier today.'"
Gamgort called the choice to share the advertising decision on Twitter, "highly unusual."
"This gave the appearance of 'taking sides' in an emotionally charged debate that escalated on Twitter and beyond over the weekend, which was not our intent," the email read. "I want you to know the decision to communicate our short-term media actions on Twitter was done outside of company protocols."
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