Diageo ends link with US TV host but Tesco stays

Waitrose cancels ads on Murdoch-owned Fox News Channel

James Thompson
Sunday 23 October 2011 03:25

The drinks giant Diageo last night became the latest major UK company to pull its adverts from the controversial Fox News commentator Glenn Beck's show.

The decision by the maker of Guinness and Johnnie Walker follows a similar move by grocer Waitrose which stopped advertising on the outspoken television presenter's talk show that is broadcast on the Sky TV platform in Britain. The exit of both companies piles pressure on Tesco. It last night refused to cancel its involvement with his show.

Kellogg's, the cereal maker, is also still promoting its brands on the show in the UK, but said a decision on its future involvement was imminent.

A Diageo spokesman said: "We have ceased advertising on the show." As The Independent reported two weeks ago, some of America's biggest companies have pulled their advertising as anger over some of the statements made by Mr Beck has mounted..

The presenter became embroiled in controversy by accusing Barack Obama of racism and claiming that the US President has a "deep-seated hatred for white people".

His comments incensed the pressure group Color of Change, which called for advertisers to "exercise corporate responsibility" and boycott his show in Britain as well as in the US. Since his attack on Mr Obama, more than 60 major US companies, including Wal-Mart, Campbell's soups, Bank of America and Capital One have stopped advertising during Mr Beck's programme in response to the call.

Waitrose, the John Lewis Partnership-owned grocer, yesterday said it had taken action after receiving complaints from customers, although it declined to say how many.

A Waitrose spokeswoman said: "This is not a politically motivated act. It was simply listening to customers' views and responding to them."

Waitrose has withdrawn all advertising from the Fox News Channel with immediate effect and for all future television advertising campaigns.

But yesterday, Tesco said its stance had not changed: "We are clear that the placing of our advertising is not a statement of support or otherwise for the programming content on the channel. In common with many other businesses Tesco buy advertising space, often as a package, across a range of channels and time slots."

A Kellogg's spokeswoman said it was currently in discussions with its media agency concerning the advertising and said it will take a decision in the next few days. "We are aware there are concerns around the programme and we are looking very closely at it."

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