Fox News has cancelled a contract to broadcast advertisements on the network that were purchased by a Democratic mega-donor as part of a $10 million national campaign demanding the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Californian hedge fund manager and activist Tom Steyer confirmed on Friday that Fox News informed him October 31 it was discontinuing his ad entitled “Join Us,” which urged viewers to sign an online petition demanding Congress begin impeachment proceedings.
Brad Deutsch, an attorney for Steyer, claimed Fox News was in breach of contract after agreeing “unconditionally” on October 27 to air the ads for a second week. Deutsch stated the network’s actions on pulling the ads early showed “a profound failure of journalistic integrity, a suppression of constitutionally protected speech, and likely a consequence of inexcusable political pressure.”
The ad campaign was the focus of a tweet sent from President Trump on the same day, saying Steyer was “[w]acky & totally unhinged.”
Wacky & totally unhinged Tom Steyer, who has been fighting me and my Make America Great Again agenda from beginning, never wins elections!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2017
Deutsch wrote in a letter to Fox that “It is no coincidence that the Cancellation of the Advertisement, in the second week of its run, came on the heels of a tweet from President Trump criticizing the spot and Mr. Steyer personally.”
Steyer criticized the decision of the network, saying “[m]illions of Americans have raised their voices in opposition to Donald Trump. If Fox News is siding with Trump and trying to silence us, they must be afraid of what we have to say. It shows no respect for democracy.”
Fox News’s co-president Jack Abernathy said the decision to pull the ads was reached due to the “strong negative reaction” by the network’s viewers.
“Due to the strong negative reaction to their ad by our viewers, we could not in good conscious take their money,” Abernathy said.