After two years of openly promoting white supremacy on the nation’s top-rated prime-time cable news show, Tucker Carlson is suddenly shedding advertisers at a record pace after his rant against immigrants last Thursday night, even as the Trump administration’s draconian (and likely unconstitutional) asylum policies have created a crisis on the U.S. border with Mexico. In his comments, Carlson railed against those who insist on “a moral obligation to admit the world’s poor,” whom the Fox News Channel host described as making America a “dirtier and more divided” place. Since Carlson made those comments last week, 13 advertisers have either suspended their advertising on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” or pulled the plug altogether, according The Hollywood Reporter. They include Land Rover, IHOP, Ancestry.com, Minted, Smile Direct, Pacific Life, ScotteVest, Zenni, the United Explorer credit card and Just For Men, among others.
In a statement issued by Fox News, company flacks tried to paint the advertisers’ response as a First Amendment issue, which it is not. “It is a shame that left wing advocacy groups, under the guise of being supposed ‘media watchdogs’ weaponize social media against companies in an effort to stifle free speech,” Fox executives said in a statement to Breitbart. The advocacy group Sleeping Giants organized the pressure campaign against Carlson’s advertisers, which appears to have gotten the ad-drop deluge started.
Just days after his show debuted on Fox News in November 2016, Carlson defended then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions against several incidents revealing his racist attitudes during his tenure as a state official in Alabama, saying that to raise those incidents now was “fear-mongering.” A month later, according to Media Matters, he compared affirmative action to slavery and Jim Crow.
Last August, Carlson went full-on white nationalist when he picked up elements of the “white genocide” fable, which posits, among other imaginings, that there are wide-scale appropriations of land and murders of white farm-owners in South Africa. Soon, President Donald J. Trump, who was apparently watching Carlson that night, got in on the act, tweeting that he was directing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to look into the matter. Right Wing Watch’s Jared Holt reported the enthusiastic response to Trump’s tweet from neo-Nazis, white nationalists and an array of other white supremacists:
Mike Peinovich, who hosts the “Daily Shoah” white nationalist podcast, said Trump’s tweet was “how we slowly chip away at the all-consuming anti-white discourse.”
See a whole range of tweets and Gab posts from Carlson’s far-right enthusiasts here. They include one from Scott Greer, then an editor and columnist at “The Daily Caller,” who was fired after a report by Rosie Gray of “The Atlantic” exposed Greer’s white nationalism writing career, which he conducted at Radix, a website run by Richard B. Spencer. “The Daily Caller” was co-founded by Carlson and Neil Patel in 2010.