When news broke that several advertisers were withdrawing ads from Sean Hannity’s show this week, many in the media world wondered whether the Fox News host was headed for a Bill O’Reilly repeat.
In April, O’Reilly, then the network’s most visible talent, was fired by Fox when advertisers fled his primetime show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” en masse after a sexual harassment scandal involving multiple reported victims became public. Hannity hasn’t been accused of sexual harassment, but he provoked a backlash this week over his continued peddling of a right-wing conspiracy theory surrounding the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich in 2016, despite outcry from Rich’s parents, and the fact that Fox was forced to publicly retract its reporting on the same story.
Cars.com was first to pull its commercials on Tuesday. Later that day, Hannity announced he would take a break from talking about the Seth Rich story entirely. On Wednesday, six more advertisers followed Cars.com’s lead and, soon after that, Hannity announced he was taking Thursday and Friday off.
“Like the rest of the country, Sean Hannity is taking a vacation for Memorial Day weekend and will be back on Tuesday. Those who suggest otherwise are going to look foolish,” a network spokesperson told TheWrap in a statement.