Archived: Crazy Conspiracy Theory Causes Hannity's Advertisers to Flee

Fox News personality Sean Hannity seems to have a taste for fake news, as he cannot stop spreading the unproven Democratic National Committee conspiracy theory surrounding the tragic murder of Seth Rich. And now, it’s costing him advertisers., Leesa Sleep, Peloton, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Ring, Casper and USAA are among those that have pulled their advertisements from Sean Hannity’s Fox News show thanks to Hannity’s perpetuation of fake news. was reportedly the first company to back out of advertising, said in a statement on its website: “The fact that we advertise on a particular program doesn’t mean that we agree or disagree, or support or oppose, the content. We don’t have the ability to influence content at the time we make out advertising purchase. In this case, we’ve been watching closely and have recently made the decision to pull our advertising from Hannity.”

Rich, 27, was shot and killed last summer in Washington, D.C. He had recently accepted a job as a data analyst for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. According to Hannity (and, until a retraction, Fox News) Rich was killed after leaking private DNC emails to WikiLeaks.

Authorities have not named Rich’s killer, but evidence leads D.C. police to believe that Rich was killed in a robbery gone wrong. They did not find any evidence to support the DNC conspiracy theory.

Rich’s parents wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post on Tuesday, explaining that Rich did not even have access to the kind of information he supposedly leaked.

“[His] job was to develop analytical models to encourage voters to turn out to vote,” his parents write. “He didn’t have access to DNC emails, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee emails, John Podesta’s emails or Hillary Clinton’s emails. That simply wasn’t his job.”

Despite the mounting evidence against him, Hannity insisted to Huffington Post that the backlash against him is all political.

“This is an attempt to take me out. This is a kill shot,” he said in an interview with the publication.

Media Matters for America, a progressive watchdog group that monitors conservative media, has been coming down hard on Hannity and posted a list of all the advertisers that have continued advertising during Hannity’s show.

Hannity went on a Twitter rant blasting Media Matters, seemingly for starting a smear campaign against him in an effort to cost him his job.

However, in a statement, Media Matters said that only one person is responsible for advertisers pulling away Hannity:

“That multiple advertisers have dropped from’Hannity’ proves the point we’ve been making all along: that organizing a pressure campaign wasn’t even necessary at this juncture, because Hannity is so volatile that major brands would likely be uncomfortable associating with him. In the past few days, Hannity has put that volatility on full display with wild and reckless conspiracies and by antagonizing his employer Fox News. Sure enough and as predicted, companies started pulling their ads from Hannity because they know his volatility is bad for business.”

The op-ed by Rich’s parents also serves as a plea to the public to allow the authorities “time and space to do the investigation.”

“With every conspiratorial flare-up, we are forced to relive Seth’s murder and a small piece of us dies as more of Seth’s memory is torn away from us,” they say.

The same day, Fox News retracted its May 16 article linking Rich’s murder to WikiLeaks. The article references a “federal investigator who reviewed an FBI forensic report” that contained information found on Rich’s computer.

ABC News, citing officials knowledgeable about the matter, reported that the FBI was not even involved in the murder investigation.

“Asked about the possible connection between Rich and WikiLeaks, one officialtold ABC News that ‘the only place I’ve seen that is through the conspiracy theories online,'” ABC reported.

Private investigator Rod Wheeler, who was hired by the Rich family, appeared on Fox News and said that connections he has in the FBI confirmed to him that there was a connection between Rich and WikiLeaks. He later contradicted this statement on different news outlets, prompting Fox to post a note on its website.

“What he told FOX 5 DC on camera Monday regarding Seth Rich’s murderinvestigationis in clear contrast to what he has said over the last 48 hours. Rod Wheeler has since backtracked,” Fox reported.

Apparently, Hannity did not get the memo.

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