Keurig, Realtor.com and #MeAt14: Caught in the Crossfire on Twitter

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Over the weekend, four brands announced they would not advertise on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program, but none felt the backlash quite like Keurig.

Hannity has been criticized on social media and beyond for his defense of Roy Moore, the U.S. Senate candidate who has been accused of having sexual relationships with teenage girls when he was in his 30s. Keurig confirmed its boycott in response to a tweet from Angelo Carusone, president of left-leaning Media Matters, joining woman’s clothing company Eloquii, the genetic testing company 23andMe and vitamin maker Nature’s Bounty, who all took to Twitter to say they would not advertise on Hannity’s program.

Hannity’s fans immediately began posting Twitter videos that showed them destroying Keurig coffee machines, as the hashtags #BoycottKeurig and #KeurigSmashChallenge rose to the top of the trending pile.

The violent backlash underscores the tricky situation brands face when caught in the crossfire of a politically charged controversy. Keurig first was criticized for its inaction in keeping its ads on Hannity. Then, when it took a stand against Hannity, it faced another angry wave of protests.

But another hashtag has been trending ever since the accusations against Moore came to light: #MeAt14. The hashtag is a reaction to last Thursday’s Washington Post story about Leigh Corman, who said that Moore initiated sexual contact with her when she was just 14 and he was 32. The posts illustrate how innocent and immature we all are at that age, how unready we are to engage in an adult relationship.

While Keurig's stance is clear, some brands have wavered in response to this controversy, perhaps not willing to put themselves through the same ringer. For instance, real estate listing and media platform Realtor.com tweeted over the weekend that it “will not be running TV ads on Hannity.” And then earlier today, the tweet was deleted and the company issued a statement saying it will continue advertising on the program.

 

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