Defenders of Fox News host Sean Hannity and Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore appear to have opened a new front in the Alabama special election’s simmering culture wars: Keurig coffee machines.
The single-cup coffee maker announced online over the weekend that it had pulled its advertisements from Hannity’s program after the Fox News anchor defended Moore against allegations that he initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32 years old and that he dated other high school-age girls in his 30s.
Hannity’s defense of Moore, that the Alabama candidate should be given the benefit of the doubt, prompted Keurig and other companies to remove their advertisements from the Fox News host’s show. While Keurig was joined in its decision by other advertisers including realtor.com and genetic testing company 23 and Me, the coffee company’s move earned it the ire of Hannity’s fan base. On Twitter, hashtag #BoycottKeurig surged onto Twitter’s trending list.
On his own Twitter account, Hannity wrote that he was "humbled and speechless and frankly laughing my ass off" at his supporters vehement reaction to Keurig’s decision. He shared a link to videos of Hannity fans destroying Keurig machines and a link to a Huffington Post article headlined "Your Keurig Machine may be Covered in Bacteria and Mold."
The allegations against Moore were first reported last week by The Washington Post. The Alabama Senate candidate has said the Post’s story is a political attack by Democrats and has denied the sexual encounter with the 14-year-old. But Moore, who was interviewed about the allegations last Friday on Hannity’s radio show, did not rule out the possibility that he had dated 17 and 18-year-old girls while in his 30s.
Asked by Hannity if he dated girls in their teens while he was in his 30s, Moore replied “not generally, no.” The Senate candidate said he did not “remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother.”
Despite Moore’s denials, Republicans across the country have soured on the Alabama candidate. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), among the Senate’s most conservative members, rescinded his endorsement of Moore, while 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called on Moore to leave the race. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Donald Trump, currently traveling in Asia, believes that "if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside."