Dine Brands Inc. subsidiary IHOP this week joined a group of more than a dozen companies who withdrew their advertising from Fox News TV program Tucker Carlson Tonight after the host made comments Thursday night seen as disparaging of unskilled immigrants.
Carlson said that with increased automation, the United States needs more “scientists and skilled engineers.”
“Instead, we’re getting waves of people with high school educations or less. Nice people — no one doubts that — but as an economic matter, this is insane. It’s indefensible so nobody even tries to defend it. Instead, our leaders demand that you shut up and accept this. We have a moral obligation to admit the world’s poor, they tell us, even if it makes our own country poorer and dirtier and more divided.”
In explaining IHOP’s decision, brand spokeswoman Stephanie Peterson said: “At our core, 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. In this case, we will no longer be advertising on this show.”
IHOP has more than 1,750 restaurants worldwide.
Carlson defended his comments on Monday, saying on Fox News that his comments were true and that the withdrawal of advertising was a threat to free speech.
Fox News, saying that the actions of advertisers were in response to pressure left-wing activist groups, issued the following statement:
“We cannot and will not allow voices like Tucker Carlson to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts from the likes of Moveon.org, Media Matters and Sleeping Giants. Attempts were made last month to bully and terrorize Tucker and his family at their home. He is now once again being threatened via Twitter by far left activist groups with deeply political motives. While we do not advocate boycotts, these same groups never target other broadcasters and operate under a grossly hypocritical double standard given their intolerance to all opposing points of view.”
Fox News also said that those companies that were pulling their advertising from Carlson’s show were moving them to other shows on the network and that no revenue had been lost.
Carlson’s comments that workers without advanced degrees are undesirable runs counter to the experience in the restaurant industry.
The United States’ unemployment rate is currently at 3.7 percent, a 49-year low according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and demand for minimally skilled labor in the foodservice industry remains high. In a recent column in Nation’s Restaurant News, human resources expert Jim Sullivan said that, with turnover of hourly employees at 155 percent, “This issue dwarfs any and all challenges we face in the coming year.”
According to published reports, other companies that have withdrawn ads from Tucker Carlson Tonight include Ancestry.com, Bowflex, Just for Men, Land Rover, Pacific Life and TD Ameritrade.
Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]
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