Whereas in 2018, when 20 companies yanked their ads after Carlson obtusely proclaimed that undocumented immigrants made America “poorer, and dirtier, and more divided,” this time the exits are over the host’s stance on the death of George Floyd and the ensuing nationwide protests against police violence and racism.
Both Disney and T-Mobile have cut ties with the primetime Tucker Carlson Tonight over the host’s polarizing point of view on the Black Lives Matter movement and the desire for justice and equality in America that many of its members advocate. Along with Papa John’s, the media giant and the telecommunications brand faced a backlash in recent days for their association with Carlson and his belief that the well-attended protests were “Black Lives Matter riots.”
Or, put another way, putting money in Rupert Murdoch’s corporate pocket was not a branding position Disney or T-Mobile wanted to be in at this moment in America.
Fox News did not respond to request for comment tonight on the ad exits. (UPDATE, 10 AM June 11: A Fox News spokesperson now says all national dollars/ads were moved to other programs and there has not been any national money lost.)
Disney, which has run ads about 29 times this year on the much-watched FNC, did not respond to request for comment tonight on the issue.
However, sources tell Deadline that the ads for ABC shows on Tucker Carlson Tonight were placed in error by third parties. The ads will not be running anymore, and no more placements by the Bob Chapek-led House of Mouse are expected on the show anytime soon. (UPDATE, 10:45 PM: “The ABC advertisements were placed on the show without our knowledge by third party media buyers who were unaware that we do not advertise on the show, and they have now been notified not to place any further ads,” an ABC spokesperson told Deadline tonight.)
“We also realize that now more than ever is the time for us all to further strengthen our commitment to diversity and inclusion everywhere,” CEO Chapek, along with Executive Chairman Bob Iger and SVP and Chief Diversity Officer Latondra Newton, told Disney staff in a May 30 note, five days after Floyd was killed in the street by a now-fired Minneapolis cop.
“We intend to keep the conversation going, not just today, but for as long as it takes to bring about real change,” the correspondence from the Disney executives concluded.
That’s a stark contrast, to put it mildly, to Carlson’s earlier encapsulations of the past two weeks in America. Last week, the host told his primarily conservative audience that they weren’t “required to be upset” about Floyd’s Memorial Day death in broad daylight on the street at the hands of cops. This is the same host who last summer pronounced white supremacy a “hoax” that should be put on the “conspiracy theory” shelf.
“This may be a lot of things, this moment we’re living through, but it is definitely not about black lives,” Carlson then told his viewers on June 8, the first day of Floyd’s memorial in his adopted hometown of Houston. “Remember that when they come for you, and at this rate, they will,” the FNC host added cryptically.
A FNC spokesperson earlier this week said that the “they” Carlson was referring to on Monday was the Democrats and local politicians and not BLM members or activists.
Nonetheless, those inflammatory words provoked the Deutsche Telekom AG-owned T-Mobile to respond online, “We haven’t run ads on Tucker Carlson Tonight since early May and have cancelled all future placements.” The cell phone carrier added: “We will continue to support those who stand against racial injustice.”
T-Mobile’s new-ish CEO put it in even blunter terms:
It definitely is not. Bye-bye Tucker Carlson! #BlackLivesMatter
— Mike Sievert (@MikeSievert) June 10, 2020
“That’s America tonight, totally cool,” Carlson doubled-down on Wednesday on BLM-led or inspired protests, saying that “racist lunatics with semiautomatic weapons” want a new “segregation” in the county. This comes on the same day that Carlson made an exit of his own and left the Daily Caller. After co-founding the conservative digital outlet a decade ago, Carlson had his one-third stake bought out in recent days, supposedly to free him to focus on his four-year-old FNC show
Having said that, the fiscal year ends June 30, so we have no overall data yet on how Carlson’s show has or has not be hit by any advertisers exiting. However, beyond the boardroom politics, if past advertiser boycotts of Carlson and other FNC shows are an indication and and past record bottom lines for FNC in 2018 and 2019 are taken into account, we may be looking at an impact of nickels and dimes at most when all is said and done.
Still, in a yet another monologue tonight, one-time COVID-19-warning Carlson also piled up against the stay-at-home orders that state and local governments put in place during the past three months to keep spread of the often-fatal disease under control.
“Corrupt politicians scared us into giving up control over the most basic questions in our own lives,” Carlson declared, with aim directly at Democrats, even though the White House is held by Republican Donald Trump. “At the same time, they gave more power to their obedient followers like Antifa, while keeping the rest of us trapped at home and censored online.”
Despite such claims by Carlson and the former Celebrity Apprentice host, the anti-fascist group, which has become an obsession in FNC and GOP circles, has not shown up so far in any of the Justice Department cases of those arrested for looting and unrest following Floyd’s death.
At the same time, as the nation reopens sporadically, about 113,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus. America leads the world in confirmed cases of the disease with more than 2.04 million cases, so far.
“Turns out cable news anchors don’t make very subtle propagandists,” Carlson tellingly said tonight with zero irony. On that perhaps, all parties would agree here.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Dominic Patten has been a guest on Tucker Carlson Tonight several times discussing a variety of topics