Geraldo Rivera said Tuesday that the advertiser boycott against Fox News host Laura Ingraham, launched by Parkland student activist David Hogg, is “an attack” on the First Amendment and must be stopped.
“These political boycotts need to stop. They are an attack on the 1st Amendment & an infringement of free speech,” Mr. Rivera tweeted to his 210,000 followers.
His tweet comes after he initially blasted Ms. Ingraham to The Wrap, saying her criticism of Mr. Hogg was “indefensible” and questioned whether her career would survive the boycott.
The uproar started when Ms. Ingraham mocked the 17-year-old Hogg, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student and leader of the anti-gun #NeverAgain movement, for not getting into a number of colleges to which he had applied. Mr. Hogg responded by launching a boycott against Ms. Ingraham, instructing his 732,000 Twitter followers to pressure her sponsors into pulling advertising from her Fox News program.
Eighteen companies obliged, prompting a public apology from Ms. Ingraham. Mr. Hogg refused to accept the apology, and Ms. Ingraham temporarily went off the air for what she and Fox News described as a preplanned spring break vacation. She is set to return to her show Monday.
“What she did was terrible,” Mr. Rivera told The Wrap on Monday at a launch party for his latest book, “The Geraldo Show,” at New York City’s Del Frisco’s restaurant. “What she said was just indefensible.”
“I don’t know” about Ms. Ingraham’s fate at the network, he said. “It’s not going to be an easy road.”
Fox News said Tuesday that Mr. Rivera was alone in his assessment of Ms. Ingraham.
“Geraldo is out of the loop on this issue and speaks for no one but himself,” a network spokesperson told The Wrap.
To his credit, Mr. Rivera also told The Wrap that he thinks the boycott is a “really low blow.”
“I detest secondary boycotts. I think they’re anti-democratic. They are a threat to the First Amendment,” he said. “They give the power to the ad department over the editorial department in news organizations.
“It’s censorship of the worst kind,” he added. “To destroy her career and destroy her show by using economic clout, the intimidation of advertisers, I think is really low blow.”
In his tweet Tuesday, Mr. Rivera said he’s glad that Ms. Ingraham would be returning to her program.
“Media missed my point, while I disagree with Laura Ingraham @IngrahamAngle on this issue, I’m glad she apologized & I’m even happier that she will be back on Monday,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, Fox News Co-president Jack Abernethy said the network is sticking by Ms. Ingraham.
“We cannot and will not allow voices to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts,” he told The Los Angeles Times. “We look forward to having Laura Ingraham back hosting her program next Monday when she returns from spring vacation with her children.”
© Copyright (c) 2018 News World Communications, Inc.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.