Three corporations that say they support Black Lives Matter but sponsor Tucker Carlson [UPDATED]

Fox News host Tucker Carlson (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Over the last several days, Fox News host Tucker Carlson has used his platform to repeatedly attack and denigrate the Black Lives Matter movement. Carlson's effort reached a crescendo on Monday night when he described Black Lives Matter protesters as phony and dangerous. 

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. Anyone who has ever been subjected to the rage of the mob knows the feeling. It's like being swarmed by hornets...If you show weakness of any kind, they will crush you. 

During the same episode, Carlson criticized Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) for participating in a Black Lives Matter protest, saying Romney was "accusing [the] entire country of racism." He also claimed, without evidence, that the Black Lives Matter movement was funded by "finance moguls" seeking to distract from "obscenely-high interest rates." 

Last week, Carlson advised viewers that they are not "required to be upset" about George Floyd's murder by a Minneapolis police officer, especially if they have "never even been to Minneapolis." 

Last month, as the protests began, he described them as an "ancient battle between those who have a stake in society and would like to preserve it and those who don’t and seek to destroy it." Carlson later described the conflict as between "thugs" and "normal people."

None of this is out of character for Carlson. He has a long history of using white nationalist rhetoric. Last August, Carlson said the idea that white supremacy is a problem in America is a "hoax" and a "conspiracy theory." In 2018, Carlson said that immigrants were making America "poorer, and dirtier, and more divided."  In 2017, Carlson described Obama as "vulgar" because he "vacationed with rappers." The same year, he promoted Gab, a social media site that caters to white nationalists. In 2015, Carlson attacked Stephen Colbert for wearing a "Black Lives Matter" wristband, saying it meant Colbert believed "you divide people on the basis of their skin color and say, ‘This one group of people’s lives matter.’"

While dozens of companies have abandoned Carlson over the years, several major companies that claim to support the Black Lives Matter movement are still advertising on Carlson's show. 

Disney sponsors Tucker Carlson

Disney tweeted that the company stands with "our fellow Black employees, storytellers, creators, and the entire black community."

"The killing of George Floyd has forced our nation to once again confront the long history of injustice that black people in America have suffered, and it is critical that we stand together, speak out and do everything in our power to ensure that acts of racism and violence are never tolerated," Disney CEO Bob Chapek said in a statement. The company also announced that it would use its "resources and platforms to address issues of race and inequality," including "special programming" to "encourage a discussion of racism and oppression in America."

But Disney is also using its resources to sponsor a program that claims the racism and oppression of Black Americans is a myth.

The company has advertised on Tucker Carlson 29 times in 2020. Popular Information asked Disney if the company planned to continue to sponsor Carlson's program in light of his recent comments about Black Lives Matter and the company's stated commitment to racial justice. Disney declined to offer a response. 

UPDATE (6/10): Disney tells Popular Information that it will no longer advertise on Tucker Carlson. The company says the ads were placed through a third party ad buyer and the company was not previously aware they were running during the show. Disney says it has instructed the third party to stop placing ads on Tucker Carlson moving forward.

Papa John's Pizza sponsors Tucker Carlson

"Our hearts go out to our black employees, communities, and friends. We stand with you against racism and injustice. We will continue to work to drive change," Papa John's CEO Rob Lynch said in a tweet.

Papa John's founder, John Schnatter, was forced out of his post in 2017 after threatening to terminate the company's partnership with the NFL if the league did not eliminate peaceful protests against racism before games. Schnatter was also alleged to have used the n-word on a conference call.

Lynch says he's "focused on building a company that promotes and supports diversity, equity, and inclusion." But Papa John's continues to advertise on Tucker Carlson.

The company has advertised on Tucker Carlson 28 times in 2020. Popular Information asked Papa John's if the company planned to continue to sponsor Carlson's program in light of his recent comments about Black Lives Matter and the company's stated commitment to racial justice.

“Papa John’s takes a neutral approach to news advertising – with equal spend across the primary cable news networks of CNN, MSNBC and FNC [Fox News Channel].  Placement of Papa John’s advertising is not intended to be an endorsement of the program commentary,” a company spokesperson told Popular Information.

UPDATE (6/10): In a new statement to Popular Information, Papa John’s says it will suspend its advertising on Tucker Carlson:

Papa John’s media spend is designed to reach a wide range of potential, new and existing consumers across platforms. Placement of advertising is not intended to be an endorsement of any specific programming or commentary. We have decided to suspend all resources allocated against opinion-based programming.

T-Mobile drops Tucker Carlson

T-Mobile has thrown itself unreservedly behind the Black Lives Matter movement, as evidenced by this tweet:

The company has advertised on Tucker Carlson 27 times in 2020. Popular Information asked T-Mobile if the company planned to continue to sponsor Carlson's program in light of his recent comments about Black Lives Matter and the company's stated commitment to racial justice.

Shortly thereafter, T-Mobile responded to a similar question on Twitter posed by the activist group Sleeping Giants.

Vari sponsors Tucker Carlson

Vari, an office furniture company, says it "supports the Black community and the fight to end racism."

The company has advertised on Tucker Carlson 39 times in 2020. Popular Information asked Vari if the company planned to continue to sponsor Carlson's program in light of his recent comments about Black Lives Matter and the company's stated commitment to racial justice. Vari did not respond. 

UPDATE (6/10): Vari contacted Popular Information on Wednesday afternoon and said the company did not plan to advertise on Tucker Carlson in the future.

CORRECTION (6/10): This article originally reported that Johnson & Johnson had advertised on Tucker Carlson’s show in 2020. Those ads, however, were all for Nizoral, an anti-dandruff shampoo which Johnson & Johnson sold in 2018. Johnson & Johnson tells Popular Information that it does not advertise on Tucker Carlson and the show “does not align with our values.” We regret the error.


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