- Mike Segar/Reuters
Fox News host Sean Hannity has begun losing advertisers amid heightened controversy surrounding his decision to draw attention to conspiracy theories about the death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich.
In recent weeks, Hannity has repeatedly pushed the claim that Rich was not the victim of a botched robbery, as authorities suspect, but rather that he was killed for providing Wikileaks with internal DNC emails.
There is no evidence suggesting this theory is true.
Hannity first raised questions about Rich’s murder in August 2016, speculating about the possibility that Rich was a WikiLeaks source. Hannity has repeatedly called attention to the conspiracy theory over the past week as well.
Rich’s family has repeatedly asked the cable TV host to stop peddling the rumor of a WikiLeaks connection.
On Tuesday, Hannity said that he would not discuss the Seth Rich story at this time “out of respect” for the family, but on Wednesday, he tweeted that he was “working harder than ever to get to the truth the family wants and deserves.”
According to CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy, Fox News president of programming, Suzanne Scott, met with Hannity on Tuesday and “encouraged him to stop pushing” the Seth Rich conspiracy.
As of Wednesday night, Hannity continued talking about the case on his show, without mentioning Seth Rich’s name.
Kim Guilfoyle, a co-host on Fox News’ “The Five,” said Wednesday that she would be filling in for Hannity for the next two days.
Here are the companies that have announced they will stop airing ads during Hannity’s show:
On Wednesday, Cars.com said in a statement to BuzzFeed News that it would no longer advertise on Hannity’s show.
- Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images
“Cars.com’s media buy strategies are designed to reach as many consumers as possible across a wide spectrum of media channels,” said the statement, according to BuzzFeed News. “The fact that we advertise on a particular program doesn’t mean that we agree of disagree, or support or oppose, the content. We don’t have the ability to influence content at the time we make our advertising purchase. In this case, we’ve been watching closely and have recently made the decision to pull our advertising from Hannity.”
A few hours after Cars.com pulled its ads, exercise company Peloton announced it was doing the same.
- Thomson Reuters
“We directed our media agency to stop advertising on Sean Hannity’s show,” the companytweetedon Wednesday. “This will take a few days to take effect.” The tweet was posted in response to Twitter users who slammed Peloton for advertising on Hannity’s show.
Leesa Sleep, the e-commerce mattress company, also followed suit, according to an email a reader forwarded to ThinkProgress. The reader asked the company if they would reconsider their ad buys, and a company representative said Leesa Sleep would no longer air ads during Hannity’s show.
Casper, another online mattress retailer, said it is also pulling ads from Hannity’s program.
- Rachel Murray/Stringer/Getty Images
The company employs programmatic software that automatically determines where its ads land in programming. A Casper spokesperson told Fast Company, “We have reviewed our programmatic television media strategy with our agency partners and reassigned this allocation.”
The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) signaled that it would also discontinue ads airing in Hannity’s time slot.
“Advertising on opinion shows is not in accordance with our policy and we’ve since corrected it,” posted on its Twitter account Wednesday.
Home security company, Ring, followed suit.
- Screenshot via Ring/Twitter
The company said on Wednesday:
“We are always evaluating and monitoring our advertisements to ensure they align with the Ring brand. As of May 23rd, we have asked our media buying partners not to place Ring ads on The Sean Hannity Show.”
Crowne Plaza Hotels said it specifically avoids placing advertisements on “political commentary” programs, and said it ended its relationship with a third-party agency that ran ads on Hannity.
- REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen/File Photo
In a statement via BuzzFeed News, Crowne Plaza Hotels said:
“We do not advertise on Fox News, Hannity or any political commentary show. We have a specific do not advertise list for this type of programming. Unfortunately, our expectation to adhere to this list was not met by a third-party agency. Since we learned of the airings, we addressed the issue immediately and terminated our relationship with the agency. We have no plans to advertise on Fox News for the foreseeable future.”