The Fox News host is losing his audience and his advertisers, but he's stubbornly standing with the Republican accused of molesting children and preying on teenagers.
Roy Moore has become the problem Sean Hannity just can’t quit.
Not only is Moore’s disastrous Senate campaign hurting the Fox News host politically, as he tries to prop up the scandal-plagued Republican nominee, but Moore is now damaging Hannity’s bottom line.
Thanks to Moore and the raging controversy that surrounds his campaign, with more women continuing to come forward and detailing how they were pursued or assaulted as teens by creepy mall-cruising Moore when he was in his 30s, Hannity’s now shedding advertisers and viewers, and Rachel Maddow is benefiting.
Hannity became a flashpoint when he immediately appeared to defend Moore from the child molestation allegations, suggesting women often fabricate stories of sexual assault. Hannity also seemed to suggest Moore’s encounters with underage girls were “consensual,” but he later apologized and said he “misspoke.”
On Tuesday, reeling from new revelations, Hannity gave Moore “24 hours” to “fully come up with a satisfactory explanation for [his] inconsistencies” before losing the host’s support.
The following day, in a bizarre spectacle for American politics, Moore wrote an open letter to the talk show host trying to explain away allegations of pedophilia. Moore failed to explain the inconsistencies with his stories. But it didn’t matter — Hannity capitulated anyway.
Other Republicans are not being quite so generous. “[Moore] was on a no-fly list for a mall, which to me is pretty stunning,” quipped South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, more and more brand managers on Madison Avenue are telling Hannity thanks but no thanks, and pulling their ads from his show, as he wallows in the muck as Moore defender and apologist. Considering the majority of America’s consumers are women, it’s obvious why brands would be wary of soliciting customers following a message like that.
On Wednesday, the plus-size retailer Eloquii announced it too had bolted from Hannity's show. "We can confirm that we have blocked Hannity from our advertising list."
They join a growing list of advertisers who have cut ties with the Fox News host, including Hebrew National, ReddiWip, Marie Callender’s, Volvo, HelloFresh, Hubble Contacts, UNTUCKit, Volvo, the Society for Human Resource Management, Cadillac, and E-Trade.
Over the weekend, enraged Hannity fans started smashing their $120 Keurig coffee makers and posting videos online after the manufacturer announced it was pulling ads. After goading them on at first, Hannity then beseeched his fans to stop, and announced he was buying 500 Keurig coffee makers to replace the ones that fans smashed to pieces. (So Keurig dropped Hannity’s show and then Hannity bought $5,000 worth of Keurig coffee makers. Makes perfect sense.)
Hannity, though, has more than an advertiser problem. He also has a ratings problem thanks to Roy Moore.
Since the child molestation scandal broke on Nov. 9, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has been consistently beating Hannity in the 9 pm hour among ad-friendly viewers 25-54. And she’s doing that in part because the Moore fiasco appears to have depressed Hannity’s audience.
One week before the Moore story enveloped the GOP, on Nov. 2, Hannity drew 739,000 viewers, 25-54. The night before the Moore story broke, on Nov 8, Hannity drew 672,000 demo viewers. The night of the Moore story? Hannity’s demo viewership plummeted to 567,000. So in the span of one week, Hannity lost nearly 25 percent of his demo viewership.
Hannity has to figure out a way to quit Roy Moore.