The boycott of Fox News host Glenn Beck, led by the online activist group Color of Change, continues to gain momentum. Twenty companies have reportedly pulled their ads from the right-wing talk show after Beck called President Obama a “racist.”
Color of Change is an African American online political organization with 600,000 members nationwide. According to the group about 145,000 members signed an online petition asking companies to pull their ads during the Beck show.
Last month Beck accused Obama of having a “deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.” At one point he accused the Obama administration of secretly planning to build concentration camps.
Many argue there’s a fine line between comedy and hate speech yet Beck’s outrageous remarks amount to public irresponsibility. His hate language is offensive, divisive and racist, many charge.
Beck’s remarks prompted wide protest. Many of the companies evidently got the message.
The latest companies to pull their ads are GMAC Financial Services, Best Buy, CVS and Travelocity. Some of the others include ConAgra, Roche, Sanofi-Aventis, RadioShack, Men’s Wearhouse, State Farm, Sargento, LexisNexis-owned by Laywers.com, Procter & Gamble, Progressive Insurance, Geico, SC Johnson, and Wal-Mart.
“It’s rare for a campaign directed at a TV show’s advertisers to be successful,” said Color of Change founder James Rucker in a statement. “But we won’t stop here. We’re going to continue reaching out to Beck’s remaining advertisers.”
Rucker continued, “As Glenn Beck’s advertisers learn of his hateful rhetoric, and how deeply it concerns thousands of organized people across the country, they’re deciding that they don’t want their companies associated with Beck’s divisive fear-mongering.”
Rucker’s group and other anti-hate supporters say Beck is on a campaign to convince the American public that President Obama’s agenda is about serving the needs of Black communities at white people’s expense. Such false accusations are repulsive and divisive and should not be tolerated on the air, Color of Change and others say.
Many are hopeful that the sponsor pullout from the Beck show will make a positive difference in countering hate language, slanders, smears, and outrageous comments by figures on television and radio including Rush Limbaugh and Lou Dobbs. Limbaugh has likened President Obama to Nazis, causing the White House to declare Limbaugh was on ‘thin ice.’ Dobbs is actively promoting the idea the president was not born in the U.S. Color of Change has also called on CNN to fire Dobbs.
Many argue that it’s not enough to just turn Beck off and switch channels during his show. Television and radio talk show hosts must be held accountable and hate language in any format is unacceptable, they say.
Civil rights leaders add that hate rhetoric should immediately be reprimanded or modern day forms of organizing boycotts through online protests will increase.
In the case of Beck, Color of Change’s online movement to boycott his show and pressure companies to pull their ads is successfully leading the way in fighting against racism at the click of a mouse.
plozano @ pww.org