Fans of Fox News' "Hannity" are trying to punish Keurig, the makers of coffee-pod machines, for withdrawing ads from the show by posting videos of their coffee makers being destroyed.
The company announced it would be dropping its sponsorship of the show after Hannity seemed to defend Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore's purported sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32.
On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that Moore, then an assistant attorney general in Alabama, had pursued and sexually touched a 14-year-old in 1979. On his radio show that day, Hannity said the relationship was "consensual." That night on the Fox News show, Hannity said he "misspoke" and "was absolutely wrong" but then discussed the accusers possibly being paid or politically motivated.
On Friday, Angelo Carusone, the president of Media Matters for America, a watchdog group that has previously organized advertiser boycotts of Hannity's show, tweeted Keurig about sponsoring Hannity. Keurig replied that it had stopped an ad from airing on the show.
Angelo, thank you for your concern and for bringing this to our attention. We worked with our media partner and FOX news to stop our ad from airing during the Sean Hannity Show.— Keurig (@Keurig) November 11, 2017
Hannity's supporters then began tweeting in defense of the Fox News host, and some attached videos of themselves destroying their Keurig machines under the hashtag #BoycottKeurig. The methods of destruction included dropping from a multi-story building, setting on fire and smashing with a golf driver. Hannity retweeted some of the videos, saying he was "humbled and speechless."
Several other companies have also withdrawn ads from "Hannity," including Realtor.com, 23andme and Nature's Way. Their social-media departments were just a bit more quiet about it.
On Monday, Keurig's chief executive said things had gotten a little of out of hand. "The decision to publicly communicate our programming decision via our Twitter account was highly unusual," wrote Bob Gamgort in a companywide email. "This gave the appearance of 'taking sides' in an emotionally charged debate that escalated on Twitter and beyond over the weekend, which was not our intent… I want you to know the decision to communicate our short-term media actions on Twitter was done outside of company protocols."
In terms of the bottom line, CBS MoneyWatch wrote Monday that the international company shouldn't get too jittery about the protest, noting that the brand's devotees dwarf "Hannity"'s nightly audience of 3.2 million: "Even if all of those 'Hannity' viewers owned a Keurig machine, it would still represent a fraction of Keurig's consumer base," said CBS. "More than 30 million Keurig coffee machines were sold between 2012-2015 alone, according to company financial statements."