By Benjamin Mullin 

Advertisers continued to pull commercials from Fox News program " Tucker Carlson Tonight" after the show's host said on-air that certain immigrants were making the U.S. "dirtier and more divided."

TD Ameritrade Holding Corp., and IHOP on Tuesday said they had pulled their ad spots from the show, one of several news-and-commentary programs that anchors Fox News' prime-time lineup.

They followed several other advertisers, including the personal-finance site NerdWallet, that had removed spots from the show since Mr. Carlson's remarks last Thursday.

"We stand for welcoming folks from all backgrounds and beliefs into our restaurants and continually evaluate ad placements to ensure they align with our values," an IHOP spokeswoman said in an email. "In this case, we will no longer be advertising on this show."

The controversy began after the show featured a segment about a group of migrants from Central America encamped in the Mexico border city of Tijuana. Mr. Carlson compared the caravan's effect on Tijuana to the consequences of illegal migration in the U.S., concluding the segment by saying that "unregulated" immigration made America "poorer and dirtier and more divided." He reiterated that point of view on his show Monday night.

Fox News blamed the boycott on advocacy groups including Media Matters and Sleeping Giants that called out advertisers who sponsored his show. "We cannot and will not allow voices like Tucker Carlson to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts," the network said.

Media Matters and Sleeping Giants said it was the advertisers who ultimately decided to pull their TV spots. "Fox News executives are dismissing advertiser concerns and implying that their advertisers are either pawns of Media Matters or were duped," Media Matters said.

Advertisers boycotting Mr. Carlson's show have moved their ads to other shows on the network, and no revenue has been lost as a result of the boycott, according to a Fox News spokeswoman. Several advertisers have kept their ads on "Tucker Carlson Tonight," she said.

The Wall Street Journal parent News Corp and Fox News parent 21st Century Fox Inc. share common ownership.

Laura Ingraham, who hosts the Fox News show "The Ingraham Angle," has also weathered an advertiser backlash in the wake of controversial remarks, most recently after she compared immigration detention centers to "summer camps."

The effectiveness of a sustained protest against a TV host isn't determined by advertisers alone, said Rashad Robinson, the president of Color of Change, a nonprofit civil-rights advocacy organization. It is too early to tell whether the ad boycott of Mr. Carlson's show will affect the host's status at the network, Mr. Robinson said, in part because that could be influenced by other factors such as internal pressure within the organization.

Mr. Carlson's show is among the network's most popular and its ratings haven't suffered since his remarks, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Although advertiser boycotts allow consumers to flex their muscles by putting pressure on TV networks, they run the risk of permitting marketers to determine what speech is OK and what isn't, said Matt McAllister, a communications professor at Pennsylvania State University. Advertisers are ultimately interested in the bottom line, "so they're not a neutral party in deciding what ideas should circulate and which shouldn't," he said.

Write to Benjamin Mullin at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 19, 2018 09:59 ET (14:59 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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