Fox News, not advertisers, are hurting the most from the Laura Ingraham boycott

New data shows the network has taken the biggest hit in the public's eye.

Fox News headquarters in New York City. CREDIT: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Fox News headquarters in New York City. CREDIT: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Advertisers fled Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle en masse last week after the host, Laura Ingraham, made disparaging comments mocking Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg.

While some corporations might have expected to see some damage to their brand as a result of the boycott, new data from YouGov BrandIndex shows that the companies have actually fared well in spite of the boycott.

Poll respondents were asked, “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the past two weeks — through news, advertising, or word of mouth — was it positive or negative?”

The only brand that gained a significant amount of negative perception among consumers in recent days was Fox News.

The data reaffirms the idea that consumer-driven boycotts are effective. As Michael Hiltzik points out in a Los Angeles Times column, “Advertisers of consumer products fear controversy more than anything — especially political controversy.”


Similarly, boycotts of companies supporting the National Rifle Association (NRA) gained traction after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February.

Since Hogg called for an advertiser boycott last week, over a dozen companies have announced they will no longer advertise during Ingraham’s show, specifically citing her rhetoric as the reason.

Liberty Mutual, one of the Ingraham’s top advertisers, called the Fox News host’s comments “inconsistent with our values as a company.”

The backlash began when Ingraham mocked Hogg last Wednesday for not getting in to certain colleges. “David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it. (Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA…totally predictable given acceptance rates.),” she tweeted.

Ingraham’s tweet was up for over 24 hours before she eventually issued an apology to Hogg. Her apology only came after a number companies announced they would stop advertising during her show.


Whether planned or on accident, Ingraham is taking a week-long break from the show to celebrate “Easter break” with her children. Ingraham’s “break” immediately drew comparisons to another former Fox News host whose show was the target of an advertising boycott.

Shortly after The New York Times reported that Fox News paid millions of dollars to five women who said they were sexually harassed by Bill O’Reilly, 77 advertisers left the show in a mass exodus.

O’Reilly subsequently announced he would be taking a “scheduled” vacation that he had planned — but he never returned. O’Reilly was supposed to return on April 24 of last year, but on April 19, Fox News let him go.