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Gun violence in the US

Fox News host Laura Ingraham takes time off after being shunned by advertisers for attacking teenage gun control advocate David Hogg

Ingraham has been criticised for her social media taunting of Hogg over his rejection by several colleges

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 March, 2018, 11:03am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 March, 2018, 6:47pm

Fox News show host Laura Ingraham announced on her show late on Friday that she is taking next week off, after almost a dozen advertisers dropped her show after the conservative pundit mocked a teenage survivor of the Florida school massacre on Twitter.

Eleven companies so far have pulled their ads after a pushback by Parkland student David Hogg, 17, who called for a boycott of her advertisers.

Liberty Mutual Insurance and Office Depot are the latest Fox News sponsors that have said publicly they will not run commercials in the conservative commentator’s nightly prime-time programme The Ingraham Angle.

Ingraham is under fire for her social media taunting of Hogg over his rejection by several colleges. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior, who has transformed into a highly visible gun control activist following the deadly shooting at his Florida school, mentioned in an interview that he was not accepted by four University of California schools.

“David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it,” Ingraham tweeted on Wednesday. “(Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA … totally predictable given acceptance rates.)”

Ingraham issued an apology on Thursday after Hogg urged his followers to boycott advertisers on her show.

About a dozen advertisers, generally skittish over any social media backlash, have responded by saying they are not running commercials in the show or have cancelled future plans to do so. Most are moving their ads to other programmes on the Fox News schedule, according to a person familiar with those discussions.

Other defectors include Nestle, Johnson and Johnson, TripAdvisor, Nutrish, Expedia, Jos. A. Bank and Hulu, the streaming video service that is one-third owned by Fox News parent 21st Century Fox.

Ingraham is often the fourth most-watched programme in all of cable news with about 2.6 million viewers nightly.

Ingraham’s apology came quickly, considering that Fox News commentators have typically resisted backing down when under attack for their controversial statements. But the support and sympathy for Hogg and other Parkland students has prompted advertisers to continue to bail from her programme.

Hogg did not accept Ingraham’s apology. He told the New York Daily News on Friday that Ingraham will have to admit she slandered his classmates in her coverage of their gun protests.

The thinned herd of advertisers was apparent during Thursday’s edition of The Ingraham Angle. While major national brands such as Pfizer, Progressive.com, Gillette and WeatherTech remained in the programme, there were several promos for other Fox-owned cable networks and spots from direct response advertisers – usually a sign of ad cancellations. Office Depot also ran an ad in Thursday’s programme.

An advertising boycott sealed the fate of former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, who was fired last April. The boycott followed a report that O’Reilly and Fox News had paid US$13 million in settlements over the years to women who had complained that he had abused or sexually harassed them during their employment.

A Fox News representative did not respond to a request for comment late on Friday.