Red Lobster joins list of companies pulling ads from ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’

January 9, 2019

Tucker Carlson just lost another advertiser, the Wrap reportedThe seafood chain Red Lobster announced that it would pull advertising from Carlson’s show in the wake of a controversial, much-discussed opening monologue last week in which the Fox host laid out a manifesto on the collapse of the family and America’s middle class. As part of his critique, Carlson suggested that a drop in men’s wages and employment might be part of the reason behind the decline in marriage.

“Red Lobster’s advertising buying guidelines reflect our core values and commitment to supporting programming that represents the highest standards of good taste, fair practice and objectivity. We reserve the right to make changes to our purchases when the dialogue is no longer in line with our criteria,” the company said in a statement Tuesday.

Carlson loses another advertiser

Red Lobster did not tell The Wrap what impacted its decision, but the chain was not one of the more than 20 companies that ditched Carlson’s show in December when he said that illegal immigration makes the country “dirtier” and “poorer.” Red Lobster’s move comes after Carlson made waves last week with an impactful monologue that included controversial comments about gender roles.

Responding to Mitt Romney’s op-ed attack on President Donald Trump, Carlson delivered a wide-ranging critique of American society, politics, and culture that blamed the ruling class and what he sees as Republicans’ “worship” of the free market for driving a collapse in families and marriage. The monologue resonated with many of Carlson’s followers, and it also prompted significant blowback from some conservatives, as well as some critics who argued that part of his commentary was misogynistic.

In one section of the monologue, the Fox host blamed a decline in men’s employment and wages for the decline of marriage among low and middle-income families, arguing that “study after study” had shown that women don’t want to marry men who earn less money than them.

“Study after study has shown that when men make less than women, women generally don’t want to marry them. Maybe they should want to marry them but they don’t,” Carlson said. “Over big populations, this causes a drop in marriage, a spike in out of wedlock births and all the familiar disasters that inevitably follow, more drug and alcohol abuse, higher incarcerations rates, fewer families formed in the next generation.”

While Carlson’s comments on gender were just one small part of a broad, 15-minute critique of the entire political and economic system, the brief excerpt got a lot of play in the media and on Twitter, where it sparked a considerable backlash. Liberal activists on Twitter alerted the company’s president Salli Setta about Carlson’s comments and tagged an organization of which Setta is a member, Women’s Foodservice Forum, demanding that they pull advertising from his show.

Fox standing by Carlson

Liberal groups like Media Matters took similar action against Carlson’s advertisers last month after his controversial comments on immigration, setting off an ongoing advertiser boycott against the pundit. The boycott came one month after Antifa-affiliated rioters gathered outside his Washington, D.C, home, vandalized his property and terrorized his wife while she was home alone.

Whether one agrees with Carlson or not, the Fox pundit clearly has a knack for starting conversations and rattling both sides of the establishment. Few pundits have provoked such forceful and widespread attempts at intimidation with their political commentary.

The monologue landed like a mortar charge in conservative circles, prompting a backlash from establishment conservatives who argued that he was encouraging “victimhood populism” by questioning established ideology. It also provoked an equally furious reaction from the left that ultimately caused him to lose another advertiser.

Red Lobster could be the first company to pull advertising from Carlson’s program over comments on gender rather than immigration, the Wrap noted.

When asked for a comment, Fox directed The Wrap to their previous statement defending Carlson: “We cannot and will not allow voices like Tucker Carlson to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts from the likes of Moveon.org, Media Matters and Sleeping Giants. Attempts were made last month to bully and terrorize Tucker and his family at their home. He is now once again being threatened via Twitter by far left activist groups with deeply political motives. While we do not advocate boycotts, these same groups never target other broadcasters and operate under a grossly hypocritical double standard given their intolerance to all opposing points of view.”

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.