Faced with a growing advertiser exodus, Fox News host Laura Ingraham apologized Thursday for a widely derided tweet in which she mocked Parkland survivor David Hogg.
“On reflection, in the spirit of Holy Week, I apologize for any upset or hurt my tweet caused him or any of the brave victims of Parkland,” Ingraham said on Twitter. “For the record, I believe my show was the first to feature David immediately after that horrific shooting and even noted how ‘poised’ he was given the tragedy. As always he’s welcome to return to the show anytime for a productive discussion.”
Ingraham, a staunchly pro-Trump commentator, came under fire on Wednesday, when she tweeted out a story from the right-wing website Daily Wire about Hogg’s rejection from four different colleges.
“David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it,” she said. “(Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA…totally predictable given acceptance rates.)”
The backlash was swift and widespread, and Ingraham was denounced for ridiculing a teenager and survivor of a mass shooting.
“Laura Ingraham needs a few classes in compassion,” tweeted the author Stephen King.
Hogg, the 17-year-old senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas who has emerged as a leader in the nationwide movement for new gun laws following the shooting last month at the school, urged his followers on Twitter to contact advertisers for Ingraham’s prime time show on Fox.
At least three companies were prepared to pull ads from the show, “The Ingraham Angle,” in response to her tweet. Nutrish, the Rachael Ray-partnered dog food brand, said Thursday morning that it was “in the process of removing our ads from Laura Ingraham’s program.” Travel site TripAdvisor said they “made a decision to stop advertising on that program.” And online retailer Wayfair said, “the decision of an adult to personally criticize a high school student who has lost his classmates in an unspeakable tragedy is not consistent with our values.”
By Thursday afternoon, after the companies announced their decisions, Ingraham took to Twitter to praise Hogg, saying that any “student should be proud of a 4.2 GPA.”
Ingraham’s act of contrition was seen by many as a response to the widening ad boycott. A year ago, Bill O’Reilly, then the biggest star at Fox, saw dozens of advertisers flee his top-rated program after a New York Times story revealed that he had paid multiple settlements to women who had accused him of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior.
Hogg, who has gained hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers in the last month, was dismissive of Ingraham’s mea culpa.
“I 100% agree an apology in an effort just to save your advertisers is not enough,” he tweeted. “I will only accept your apology only if you denounce the way your network has treated my friends and I in this fight. It’s time to love thy neighbor, not mudsling at children.”
A short while later, Hogg tweeted a link to a list of Ingraham’s advertisers.
“If you want to help I would suggest contacting 3-4 of these companies,” he tweeted. “Lets do this”
The unyielding response from Hogg drew its own critics, particularly from Ingraham’s defenders on the right. The conservative commentator Erick Erickson, who weeks ago called Hogg a “bully,” repeated his criticism of the teen.
“Having someone apologize to you then refusing to accept it unless conditions are met is what bullies do,” Erickson said.
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