(Reuters) - A number of advertisers have dropped Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News, the network said on Tuesday, after the host said last week that immigration makes the United States “poorer and dirtier and more divided.”
Fox News said in a statement that the conservative commentator has been the target of far-left activist organizations since he made the remarks on his show on Thursday.
“We cannot and will not allow voices like Tucker Carlson to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts,” it said.
“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,” the network added.
Fox, a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, did not name the advertisers that pulled their spots on the show or say how many there were, but said Farmers Insurance, Bayer and Mitsubishi Corp stayed.
It said all the advertisers that left were moving to other shows on the network and no revenue has been lost.
Republican President Donald Trump has made immigration reform one of his priorities and has promised to crack down on illegal crossings at the southern U.S. border with Mexico.
Carlson took up the topic again on his show on Monday, saying unregulated mass immigration from Mexico has hurt the natural landscape of the United States.
“Those who won’t shut up get silenced,” he said. “The enforcers scream ‘Racist!’ on Twitter until everybody gets intimidated and changes the subject ... We are not intimidated.”
Several media reported at least 11 advertisers had stopped running spots on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” since he made the remarks last week, including IHOP, Voya Financial Inc, Just for Men and Nerd Wallet.
Other advertisers that pulled spots included Zenni Optical, Minted and Pacific Life, the media reported.
“As a company, we strongly disagree with Mr. Carlson’s statements. Our customer base and our workforce reflect the diversity of our great nation, something we take great pride in,” Pacific Life said in a statement on Twitter.
Activists have previously used Twitter to post the home address of Carlson, the news site Mediaite reported Nov. 9. Demonstrators have targeted Carlson’s home in Washington with a protest and shouted threats, he told the Washington Post.
“Attempts were made last month to bully and terrorize Tucker and his family at their home,” the network said in its statement on Tuesday. “He is now once again being threatened via Twitter by far left activist groups with deeply political motives.”
In March, at least 12 companies pulled their advertisements from Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox News after the conservative pundit mocked a teenage survivor of the Florida school massacre that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the Parkland suburb of Fort Lauderdale.
Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; additional reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall