Sara Gonzales

What happened?

Fox News for the first time Sunday denounced a petition asking advertisers to ditch Fox News host Sean Hannity. The petition, which was orchestrated by liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America, sharply criticized Hannity for his support of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore after allegations surfaced regarding Moore having inappropriate sexual contact with teenagers.

What did Fox News say?

“This intimidation effort is nothing more than political opportunism based on deceit. Sean Hannity hosts the No. 1 program in cable news because millions of Americans make the decision to join him every night and the audience relationship is stronger than ever,” said a Fox News spokesperson.

What’s the backstory in a nutshell?

Media Matters has long since targeted Hannity and Fox News in their public campaigns, and was behind the exodus of advertisers from former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s show in April.

Well-known companies such as Keurig, Volvo Car USA, Reddi-Wip, Realtor.com, and Nature’s Bounty all recently said that they would no longer do business with Hannity. Media Matters president Angelo Carusone told CNN that 30 companies had committed to stop advertising on Hannity’s program, although CNN noted Carusone’s claim was not able to be verified.

Hannity sparked social media outrage against Keurig after he announced that the company was pulling its ads from his show. Many viewers posted videos of themselves on social media destroying their Keurig machines. Keurig later apologized for the knee-jerk reaction.