No to Pirro: Fox host off the air for now after pharma advertisers pull out

Pharma advertisers have abandoned a Fox TV show hosted by Jeanine Pirro, shown here speaking at CPAC 2017, after recent controversial comments. (Gage Skidmore)

After advertisers, including some big drugmakers, dropped out of Fox host Jeanine Pirro's show last week, the program didn't air at its usual Saturday time and isn't on the schedule for the coming weekend. Meanwhile, Muslim activists want her on permanent hiatus—but President Trump wants her reinstated.

Allergan jumped ship from Pirro's program and Novo Nordisk said it would be “re-evaluating” its own ads after Pirro made controversial comments about a Muslim Congresswoman..

Pirro's show was the second Fox program to face drug advertiser dropouts last week. Host Tucker Carlson lost advertisers, including AstraZeneca, after radio show recordings of sexist and racist comments surfaced. 

3-Day Conference

6th Promotional Review Committee Compliance & Best Practices Conference

The leading U.S. event devoted to building the skills, speed and teamwork of your promotional review committee members will take place May 15–17, 2019 in Chicago. The conference is set to bring together more than 75 professionals to ensure your PRC is prepared to generate, collect and constructively act on expert comments for your entire drug and device portfolio.

On her Saturday evening show March 9, Pirro questioned Rep. Ilhan Omar’s wearing of a hijab as “antithetical” to the U.S. Constitution. Fox News Channel condemned her comments, issuing a statement that said Pirro's comments “do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly.”

RELATED: Tucker Carlson's off-the-rail insults put pharma advertisers in hot seat

However, advertisers were not mollified, and Allegan confirmed to FiercePharma that “we will not be advertising on the Jeanine Pirro program moving forward.” It last ran ads for Botox Cosmetic on the show March 9.

Novo Nordisk, which has advertised diabetes drug Ozempic on the show, said in a statement to FiercePharma that it is rethinking its media placements.

“At Novo Nordisk, we advertise across many cable networks to raise awareness of our medicines and the disease they treat. We respect each person’s right to express their thinking and beliefs, however, we are reevaluating our advertising on this program at this time.”

Bayer and Celgene also advertise on Pirro’s show, but they had not responded to requests for comment by deadline.

The Council on Islamic-American Relations on Tuesday called for advertisers to boycott Pirro's show until Fox News Channel takes her off the air. President Trump, however, tweeted “Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro,” on Sunday morning.

The Pirro pharma defections came as AstraZeneca said it had abandoned Carlson's show and Bayer faced social media pressure to do the same. Taped comments from Carlson's radio-show call-ins were released last week; in them, Carlson defended a child-bride marriage, used the c-word to describe a woman, said Iraq was filled with “semiliterate, primitive monkeys” and made lewd comments about teen beauty pageant contestants—among other things.

Also on Sunday, Trump accused Pirro’s critics of waging “all out campaigns” against Pirro and Carlson.

RELATED: Johnson & Johnson, Bayer drop Fox show advertising after host belittles Parkland student

Last April, both Johnson & Johnson and Bayer stopped advertising on Fox host Laura Ingraham’s show after she belittled a Parkland student shooting survivor over college rejections.

Pharma companies often advertise their products on news shows considered both “right” and “left” on the political spectrum, not to support specific views, but to reach their desired target demographic of older Americans in general who tend to watch news channels. The median age of CNN viewers was 60 in 2017, while the median age of Fox News and MSNBC viewers was 65, according to demographics reported by Adweek.

Suggested Articles

Jazz's Sunosi scored FDA approval to help narcolepsy and sleep apnea patients stay awake, but can't launch until it clears a final hurdle at DEA.

The FDA is allowing some drugmakers to exceed the level of risk from a probable cancer-causing impurity in losartan for six months.

With a deal for the digoxin portfolio of Poland's Nobilus, C2 Pharma will have two supplies of API for making the sometimes difficult-to-get drug.…