Where is Laura Ingraham?
That is likely to be the response of many Fox News viewers who tune into the Ingraham Angle at 10 p.m. this week and are greeted by guests filling in for the fiery conservative host.
Ingraham announced on the show Friday evening that she was taking off for vacation this week, just as companies decided to pull advertisements off her show after comments she made on Twitter about David Hogg, one of the teenage survivors of a school shooting in Parkland, Fla. and an outspoken supporter of stricter gun control. A Fox News spokeswoman confirmed that Ingraham’s vacation was pre-planned.
“We cannot and will not allow voices to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts,” Jack Abernethy, the co-president of Fox News, said in a statement to the Inquirer and the Daily News. “We look forward to having Laura Ingraham back hosting her program next Monday when she returns from spring vacation with her children.”
Despite apologizing for taunting Hogg for not being accepted into UCLA (an apology Hogg refused to accept), advertisers have continued to pull out of her popular show. At least 16 companies have pulled their ads. Bayer, the latest, announced Saturday it had stopped advertising on the Ingraham Angle and had “no plans to resume any time in the future.”
We have stopped advertising on Laura Ingraham and we have no plans to resume any time in the future.
— Bayer US (@BayerUS) March 31, 2018
Filling in this week for Laura will be former Republican congressman Jason Chaffetz, Fox & Friends hosts Brian Kilmeade and Pete Hegseth, and Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich. Ingraham is scheduled to return April 9.
Ingraham is the third popular Fox News host to announce a vacation amid an advertiser boycott in the last year.
In April 2017, Bill O’Reilly announced he was going on vacation as advertisers fled his show after the New York Times revealed he had paid millions to five former Fox New personalities to settle claims of sexual and verbal abuse. At the time, a spokeswoman said O’Reilly was scheduled to return, but the host was forced out by the network over the sexual harassment allegations. O’reilly left Fox News with a $25 million settlement while denying any wrongdoing.
A month later, Sean Hannity also announced he was going on vacation for Memorial Day weekend as he lost advertisers over pushing a false conspiracy theory involving Seth Rich, a slain Democratic National Committee staffer. Hannity ultimately returned to his show after a few days. Rich’s parents are suing Fox News over a retracted story falsely linking him to the hack of DNC emails during the 2016 presidential election.
On Sunday, CNN Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter questioned whether ad boycotts are the right way to respond in such situations, calling the boycotts “dangerous” and suggesting critics “meet their comments with more speech.”
But Anthony Atamanuik, who plays President Trump on Comedy Central’s satirical comedy The President Show, made the case that money is speech.
“Part of speech is, in a capitalist society, hitting people in the pocket book,” Atamanuik told Stelter. “Meeting speech with speech is fine, but part of speech in our culture is money.”
Ingraham will also be taking the week off from her syndicated radio show, which airs locally in Philadelphia on WFYL-AM. Paul Viollis, a corporate security expert and host of the Security Brief podcast, was the guest host for Monday’s show. It’s unclear who will be filling in for Ingraham the rest of the week.
Ingraham isn’t the only media personality dealing with criticism over her interaction with a survivor of the Parkland shooting. Joan Walsh, a national affairs correspondent for The Nation and a CNN contributor, was criticized on social media for her Twitter exchange with Kyle Kashuv, a survivor who does not support harsher gun laws. CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Proactiv announced Friday it had pulled its ads off MSNBC after Kurt Eichenwald, a senior writer for Newsweek whose contract as an MSNBC contributor expired in February, engaged in a heated back-and-forth with Kashuv. Like Ingraham, Eichenwald later apologized for his comments.