Companies including T-Mobile and Papa John's Pizza are distancing themselves from Tucker Carlson's television show on Fox News after the conservative host's dismissive comments about the Black Lives Matters movement.
The backlash intensified after Carlson on Monday offered an inflammatory take on the nationwide anti-racism demonstrations that have followed the at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
"This may be a lot of things, this moment we're living through, but it is definitely not about black lives, and remember that when they come for you, and at this rate, they will," Carlson told viewers on June 8, the first day of Floyd's memorial in his adopted hometown of Houston.
Asked by a Twitter user the next day if Carlson's message was one T-Mobile supported, CEO Mike Sievert tweeted back, "It definitely is not. Bye-bye Tucker Carlson! #BlackLivesMatter."
In fact, the telecom said in a subsequent tweet that it had cut ties with Carlson in early May, noting that it had "cancelled all future placements" and that T-Mobile will "continue to support those who stand against racial injustice."
Papa John's confirmed in an emailed statement that it, too, had cut ties with Carlson's show, although the Louisville, Kentucky-based restaurant chain also noted it is pulling back from all "opinion-based programming."
Disney also told the political newsletter Popular Information on Wednesday that it would no longer advertise on Carlson's program.
A Fox News spokesperson confirmed in an email to CBS MoneyWatch that "all national dollars/ads were moved to other programs and there has not been any national money lost."
The notion that the network had not lost any money was disputed by Media Matters for America, a left-leaning non-profit group.
"As a publicly traded company, they really should be careful or they'll find themselves in trouble," Angelo Carusone, president and CEO of Media Matters, said in an emailed statement. "So few companies are willing to advertise with Tucker, that Fox News had to reduce the number of paid ads by at least 30% just so they could fill the inventory."
T-Mobile and Disney did not return requests for comment. A statement from Fox News Channel to the Washington Post said Carlson's reference to "they" will "come for you" was a reference to Democratic Party leaders and inner-city politicians.
It's not the first time Carlson and his show have rubbed advertisers the wrong way, with Carlsonin December 2018 after he decried immigrants for making the U.S. "poorer and dirtier."
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