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No One Wants to Advertise on Tucker Carlson’s Racist Show

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Over the last year or so, Fox News’ racist dog whistles have been growing less and less coded and more often it’s just hosts going on air and saying the quiet part loud.

The latest example of overt racist rhetoric being shouted from their studios is Tucker Carlson accusing immigrants and asylum seekers of making America “dirtier.”

He expressed that sentiment on his show last week, and immediately, people started putting pressure on advertisers to drop the show.

But on Monday, Carlson didn’t back down. Instead, he doubled down on his message, saying “The left says we have a moral obligation to admit the world’s poor. Even if it makes our own country more like Tijuana is now, which is to say poorer and dirtier and more divided.”

As of today, at least 16 advertisers have announced that they’re participating in a boycott of Carlson’s show, including Ancestry.com, Samsung, NerdWallet, Minted, Indeed, and IHOP, which gave this strong statement:

As you might expect, Carlson and Fox News are attempting to frame this as a free speech issue, saying he’s being censored.

“We cannot and will not allow voices like Tucker Carlson to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts from the likes of Moveon.org, Media Matters and Sleeping Giants,” Fox News said in a statement. “Attempts were made last month to bully and terrorize Tucker and his family at their home. He is now once again being threatened via Twitter by far left activist groups with deeply political motives.”

As we’ve talked about here before, Tucker Carlson and others like him (like Laura Ingraham, who also suffered a sponsor boycott after she mocked victims of the Parkland school shooting) aren’t talking about “political issues”–or, at least, that’s not what people are calling for a boycott over. What Carlson does is racist, xenophobic fearmongering. He erases the realities of immigration and conflates all immigrants into one poverty-stricken, crime-riddled, “dirty” mass. There is a reason why he is beloved by white supremacists. Even if he doesn’t share their beliefs, he encourages them to believe he does.

Statistician and writer Nate Silver took to Twitter to criticize the boycott.

I understand the fear that both sides of the political aisle can weaponize sponsor boycotts and that there is a possibility that that could result in valuable, hard-hitting outlets having a hard time finding funding. But again, this isn’t about politics. It’s about bigotry. There are plenty of other shows on Fox News for which no one is calling on their advertisers to leave.

Tucker Carlson can say whatever he wants but he isn’t naturally entitled to say it on television. He doesn’t have a right to have advertisers pay money to fund his show and he sure as hell doesn’t have a right to make us buy the products that choose to fund his show.

By the way, here’s a list of advertisers who are sticking by Carlson, if you’re interested in contacting them or changing your shopping habits one way or the other.

(image: screencap)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.