Jumping Ship


Recently the Laura Ingram show found itself in hot water after she publicly mocked Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg. The resulting backlash was swift and overwhelming, targeting the show’s advertisers. This manner of consumer-driven protest has increasingly proven an effective tool countering hate speech in an era of fake news.

Would it come as any surprise then to learn that another show attempting a similar ‘hate-for-profit’ scheme should meet the same fate?

Leah Remini’s A&E show saw a precipitous 42% drop in ratings from its debut to the time its final episode aired. No doubt audiences had grown sick and tired of Leah’s incessant rehashing of the same old hearsay week after week, the redundant parade of the same old talking heads – accused wife-beater Mike Rinder, underage sex work advocate Tony Ortega, and the like. Maybe all of these factors helped play a part in the show’s viewership falling off a cliff. But is that enough to bring about its cancellation?

One has only to survey the sheer breadth of garbage on television these days to understand shows can survive bad ratings and low quality content. What they cannot survive is advertisers jumping ship. And that is exactly what has been happening to Leah’s show.

So far the list of sponsors who have fled this sinking ship include: General Motors, IKEA, Geico, Pepsico, Volkswagen, Mastercard and Georgia-Pacific.

Indeed, MasterCard would make clear the reasons for its leaving by saying, “As an organization, we do not condone the promotion of racism, bigotry or other forms of hatred.”  While Georgia-Pacific would be still more explicit, stating unequivocally:

Although the A&E network generally features shows with family-friendly content, we conducted further analysis of ‘Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath’ … Based on that review, we have determined that the programming does not meet our criteria and have instructed our media buying agency to cease purchasing advertising on this show.” 

And the list of advertisers responding to the public’s backlash against hate speech on TV grows day by day. Stay tuned for developments!

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