A few moments before wheels up on Laura Ingraham’s Easter vacation Saturday morning, she tweeted a preflight picture of a holiday-themed drawing made by one of her sons. It had all the Easter trappings: parishioners at an altar, a communion service complete with a chalice, a haloed figure flanked by angels, watching from above.
“My seat-mate son drew me an Easter present preflight,” her accompanying tweet said.
Ingraham told her Fox News show viewers on Friday that the trip is an Easter vacation. The network told The Washington Post the vacation was pre-planned. But the break comes as she is facing some of the harshest criticism so far on her five-month-old Fox News show — and a growing advertiser revolt around comments she made about David Hogg, a survivor of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., and activist.
The controversy revolves around her treatment of Hogg, one of the survivors of the shooting in February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Over the past few weeks, Hogg has emerged as one of the most vocal advocates for stronger gun laws. But amid the rallies and talk shows and a ballooning number of Twitter followers, he is also a high school senior who felt sad after getting several college rejection letters.
In an interview with TMZ on Tuesday, Hogg spoke about receiving rejection letters from California colleges. Hogg has an SAT score of 1270 and a 4.2 grade-point average. He’s been accepted to Florida Atlantic University, California Polytechnic State University and California State University at San Marcos, TMZ reported.
On Wednesday morning, Ingraham tweeted a story from a conservative news site that described Hogg as a “Gun Rights Provocateur” — and said he had not been accepted by four University of California schools to which he had applied.
“David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it,” Ingraham tweeted. “(Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA … totally predictable given acceptance rates.)”
Hogg responded by compiling a list of 12 companies that advertise on Fox News’s “The Ingraham Angle” and sent a message to his nearly 700,000 Twitter followers: “Pick a number 1-12 contact the company next to that #”
More than a dozen advertisers announced that they were pulling commercials from Ingraham’s show, according to ThinkProgress.
They included Johnson Johnson, Nestlé, Hulu, Jos. A. Bank, Jenny Craig, Ruby Tuesday and Miracle-Ear.
Ingraham apologized, but Hogg blasted the apology as an insincere “effort just to save your advertisers.”
The advertisers’ efforts to distance themselves demonstrate the influence the Parkland students have gained and companies fears’ about becoming collateral damage in polarizing controversies. As The Washington Post’s Amy B Wang, Allyson Chiu and Tracy Jane reported:
The swift results showcase the power that the Parkland survivors have, not just in organizing rallies but in spurring corporate America to act. Brands, too, have become quicker to distance themselves from controversy, whether by denouncing white supremacy after neo-Nazis praise their products or by pulling their sponsorship after another Fox News personality, Bill O’Reilly, was accused of sexual harassment.
Since the 2016 election, calls to boycott retailers have become frequent: The #GrabYourWallet campaign began as a way to protest Trump, and it identified companies that carried merchandise bearing the Trump name. Those calls have been met with equally passionate responses by Trump supporters who say they are determined to use their buying power to stand with the president and his family.
But Hogg and the other Parkland teens have also shown a willingness to go after their detractors directly.
“I just think it’s a testament to the sick immaturity and broken state of our government when these people feel the need to peddle conspiracy theories about people that were in a school shooting where 17 people died, and it just makes me sick,” Hogg told BuzzFeed News. “It’s immature, rude and inhuman for these people to destroy the people trying to prevent the death of the future of America because they won’t.”
And he had some specific thoughts on Ingraham’s vacation.
Around midnight Friday, he posted a video clip of Ingraham’s announcement.
“Have some healthy reflections this Holy Week,” he tweeted.
This post has been updated.