Fox News on Monday called the campaign to drive advertisers away from Laura Ingraham’s show “agenda-driven intimidation efforts,” as the network showed support for the embattled host.
“We cannot and will not allow voices to be censored,” Jack Abernethy, Fox News’s co-president, said in a statement.
“We look forward to having Laura Ingraham back hosting her program next Monday when she returns from spring vacation with her children.”
Ingraham is off the air this week on a preplanned vacation, Fox News told The Washington Post on Saturday.
More than a dozen advertisers, including Johnson & Johnson, Nestlé, Hulu, Jenny Craig, Ruby Tuesday and Miracle-Ear, have distanced themselves from Ingraham’s show, “The Ingraham Angle,” since she taunted Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg last week.
“David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it,” Ingraham tweeted Wednesday. “(Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA … totally predictable given acceptance rates.)”
The 17-year-old high school senior, who has become a gun-control activist, then urged his followers on Twitter to call on Ingraham’s top sponsors to boycott her show.
On Thursday, Ingraham apologized, tweeting, “On reflection, in the spirit of Holy Week, I apologize for any upset or hurt my tweet caused him or any of the brave victims of Parkland.”
The advertisers’ efforts to distance themselves demonstrate the influence that Hogg and the other survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting have gained — and companies’ fears about becoming collateral damage in polarizing controversies.
The swift results showcase the power that the Parkland survivors have, not just in organizing rallies but in spurring corporate America to act. Brands, too, have become quicker to distance themselves from controversy, whether by denouncing white supremacy after neo-Nazis praise their products or by pulling their sponsorship after another Fox News personality, Bill O’Reilly, was accused of sexual harassment.
Since the 2016 election, calls to boycott retailers have become frequent: The #GrabYourWallet campaign began as a way to protest Trump, and it identified companies that carried merchandise bearing the Trump name. Those calls have been met with equally passionate responses by Trump supporters who say they are determined to use their buying power to stand with the president and his family.
Speaking to CNN on Saturday, Hogg rejected Ingraham’s apology, calling her a bully.
“It’s disturbing to know that somebody can bully so many people and just get away with it, especially to the level that she did,” he said. “No matter who somebody is, no matter how big or powerful they may seem, a bully is a bully, and it’s important that you stand up to them.”
Ingraham has not responded to Hogg’s statements, but on Monday she tweeted a link to the Los Angeles Times story on the Fox News statement supporting her.