Advertisers are deserting Fox News’ primetime host Tucker Carlson, who called white supremacy “a hoax” in the wake of a mass shooting thought to be racially motivated."The whole thing is a lie,” Mr Carlson said live on Tucker Carlson Tonight on Tuesday. “It’s actually not a real problem in America … This is a hoax, just like the Russia hoax. It’s a conspiracy theory used to divide the country.”Mr Carlson’s comments came three days after a gunman suspected of writing a white supremacist manifesto referencing a “Hispanic invasion” opened fire in a Texas supermarket, killing 22 people, including eight Mexican citizens.Hours later, the hashtag FireTuckerCarlson began trending on Twitter, with thousands of people calling for consumers to boycott the show’s advertisers. A Nestlé spokesperson confirmed to The Independent on Friday that the company, which placed adverts on the programme within the last three months, has no plans to do so again in the future. America’s largest fast seafood chain Long John Silver confirmed to watchdog Media Matters that they would no longer be advertising on Fox News, after reportedly running adverts nearly every day in 2018. The FBI has made more than 100 arrests relating to domestic terror in 2019, already higher than the previous year’s total.FBI director Christopher Wray in July attributed the majority of these cases to “white supremacist violence”, but Mr Carlson dismissed such concerns on Tuesday.“If you were to assemble a list, a hierarchy, of concerns or problems this country faces, where would white supremacy be on the list? Right up there with Russia probably,” he said. ”It’s actually not a real problem in America.”Mr Carlson’s choice of language, previously condemned as racist and misogynistic, has cost him advertisers in the past.More than 20 companies deserted his show in December after he claimed immigration made the US “dirtier”. Several more followed suit in January after he suggested that women earning more money than men was bad for society.Fox News has stuck by its presenter throughout the controversy, while watchdogs and campaigners intensified calls for his removal.By March, the number of advertisers on his programme had halved from roughly 36 to 18 per show, according to the Hollywood Reporter.“We cannot and will not allow voices like Tucker Carlson to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts from the likes of Moveon.org, Media Matters and Sleeping Giants,” the broadcaster said in a December statement. The Independent approached Fox for comment on Friday.Donald Trump, of whom Mr Carlson has long been an ally, was also heavily criticised after the El Paso massacre.Top Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, decried the president’s recent use of racist language as emboldening white supremacists.Ms Ocasio-Cortez said the president, who in his 2016 campaign described Mexicans as “in many cases, criminals, drug dealers and rapists”, was ”directly responsible for what happened in El Paso”, according to the New York Daily News.Mr Trump spent a tumultuous Wednesday visiting El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, where a second mass shooting also took place on Saturday.El Paso’s congresswoman Veronica Escobar would not meet the president until he discussed how his “racist and hateful words and actions” had harmed her community and country, she said on Twitter.
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