In today’s polarized climate, even coffee can brew up controversy.
Fox News host Sean Hannity recently interviewed Roy Moore, a family-values Republican seeking to represent Alabama in the U.S. Senate, and appeared to give him a pass over multiple allegations that he made sexual advances toward minors when he was a 32-year-old assistant prosecutor.
In the wake of the interview, some companies were ready to cut their sponsorship ties—and Hannity’s fans would have none of it. They swarmed to Twitter to call for a boycott of the coffee company, destroying their Keurig machines in displays of loyalty.
On Thursday, The Washington Post published a story about Leigh Corfman, who said Moore initiated sexual contact with her when she was 14 and he was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney in Alabama. She told The Post that Moore took her to his house and touched her sexually. Three other women interviewed by The Post said Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s.
The host has defended Moore as innocent until proven guilty, but some critics have slammed Hannity for other remarks they find objectionable.
The Washington Post continued:
Following the report, Hannity came under fire for appearing to agree with a producer on his show who suggested the encounters were “consensual.”
Speaking on his radio show Thursday to executive producer Lynda McLaughlin, Hannity asked how one could “possibly tell, know the truth.”
“He was apparently, like, 32, and he dated — one girl was 18, one girl was 17. They never said he did — there was no sexual — there was kissing involved, and then they’re saying this one encounter with a 14-year-old …”
“And it was consensual,” McLaughlin interjected.
“And consensual, that’s true,” Hannity responded. “And there’s — I just — I don’t know how you find out the truth.”
Some of Hannity’s advertisers began pulling their spots after pressure to cut ties.
At least five companies said over the weekend that they will no longer advertise their products during Fox News’ “Hannity” television show, which sparked an outpouring on Sunday of counter-protests on social media.
Keurig, Realtor.com, 23 and Me, Eloquii and Nature’s Bounty all pulled their ads from the television show, in response to Fox host Sean Hannity’s coverage of the sexual misconduct allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Keurig announced the decision to stop advertising on Hannity’s show on Twitter:
Angelo, thank you for your concern and for bringing this to our attention. We worked with our media partner and FOX news to stop our ad from airing during the Sean Hannity Show.
— Keurig (@Keurig) November 11, 2017
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This isn’t the first time companies have pulled their advertisements from the controversial host’s show.
USA Today continued:
In August, Media Matters called on companies that bought ad spots during Hannity’s show to stop financially supporting the host. The following month, Cadillac pulled its commercials from the Fox News show due to Hannity’s response to violence at rally held by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.
E-Trade also pulled its advertisements from the show.
The most recent string of companies to pull their ads from Hannity has prompted the hashtag #BoycottKeurig, which was a top trending subject on Twitter. Fans of Hannity’s show and its host criticized Keurig and the other brands for taking a political stance.
Some destroyed their Keurig machines on camera:
— Angelo John Gage (@AngeloJohnGage) November 12, 2017
— NavyJack (@USNJack) November 13, 2017
Some note the absurdity of trying to hurt Keurig by smashing a purchased machine:
What if I told you that smashing a purchased Keurig machine does nothing to hurt the Keurig company ? pic.twitter.com/zyS1ahi6t3
— Vanessa (@NessaAdelaide) November 13, 2017
“How was your day?”
“I destroyed my coffee maker because the company that made it stopped advertising on a show where the host defended a child molester.”
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) November 13, 2017
— Joe Keene (@joekeene) November 13, 2017
Others say the issue makes them more likely to buy the company’s coffee brewing machines this year:
Everyone on my Christmas list gets a keurig this year …you get a keurig! You get a keurig! pic.twitter.com/yJnKAddMre
— robert nicastro (@joltnjoey) November 12, 2017
— Dan Tracey (@Hoosierflyman) November 12, 2017
Certain tweets remind everyone that Keurig was pulling its ads over how Hannity handled Moore’s alleged sexual misconduct.
The only way for Keurig make this right is to give free machines to child molesters https://t.co/9yxlkOguWF
— h. jon benjamin (@HJBenjamin) November 13, 2017
The loss of ad revenue could be a serious issue for Hannity, given that similar campaigns have unseated other hosts at Fox.
The Washington Post wrote:
Previous boycotts of Fox News shows have proved devastating to hosts: Dozens of companies pulled their ads from Bill O’Reilly’s show on Fox News after the New York Times revealed in April that Fox and O’Reilly had agreed to a series of secret settlements over harassment allegations.
Whether the kerfuffle will harm Keurig’s holiday sales remains to be seen. It is apparent, however, that many people will need a new coffee maker.
PR Daily readers, how do you think this will affect Keurig’s standing in the marketplace?