Amid brouhaha, Keurig says it didn’t mean to take sides in Moore scan­dal

USA TODAY International Edition - - MONEY - Mike Snider and Anne God­lasky

Keurig found it­self in the midst of a brew­ing con­tro­versy af­ter it re­moved its ad­ver­tis­ing from Han­nity in re­sponse to the Fox News host’s com­ments that U.S. Se­nate can­di­date Roy Moore of Alabama — ac­cused of sex­ual mis­con­duct with teen girls — should be given the ben­e­fit of the doubt.

Met with calls to dump its ad­ver­tis­ing from the highly-rated show, Keurig and a hand­ful of other re­tail com­pa­nies over the week­end quickly re­sponded on Twit­ter that they would. But fans of Han­nity re­sponded with their own #KeurigBoy­cott, fea­tur­ing fans de­stroy­ing their cof­fee ma­chines.

By Mon­day, the maker of cof­fee ma­chines and dis­pos­able fla­vor pods was try­ing to back out of the so­cial me­dia storm.

A memo to Keurig Green Moun­tain em­ploy­ees from CEO Bob Gam­gort, ob­tained by The Wash­ing­ton Post, said the Water­bury, Vt., com­pany did not mean to ap­pear as if it was “tak­ing sides” in what had al­ready been a heated cul­tural dis­cus­sion about Moore. The com­pany’s move to make its an­nounce­ment on Twit­ter “was done out­side of com­pany pro­to­cols,” he said in a memo to em­ploy­ees Mon­day.

Later in the day, Sean Han­nity said on his ra­dio show that he con­sid­ered Gam­gort’s com­ments an apol­ogy and asked his sup­port­ers for a “cease-fire” in de­stroy­ing Keurig ma­chines.

He said he would delete the videos of ma­chines be­ing de­stroyed.

“I don’t want peo­ple los­ing their jobs be­cause sales drop so dra­mat­i­cally be­cause con­ser­va­tives don’t want to buy their ma­chines,” Han­nity said.

Still, one per­son on Twit­ter noted: “You can’t boy­cott some­thing you al­ready spent your money on. Protip: You’re not get­ting your money back be­cause you de­stroyed it.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives for Keurig and Fox did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

This lat­est flare-up en­gulf­ing Keurig sug­gests the crit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion fac­ing some ad­ver­tis­ers on news pro­grams with com­men­tary that can po­lit­i­cally di­vide the view­ing au­di­ence.

It hasn’t been the smoothest two years for Keurig Green Moun­tain, which was ac­quired in March 2016 for $13.9 bil­lion by JAB Hold­ing Co. of Lux­em­bourg. The decade be­fore that, Green Moun­tain Cof­fee Roast­ers com­pleted its ac­qui­si­tion of Keurig.

The com­pany laid off 130 em­ploy­ees in June, af­ter lay­ing off 108 the year be­fore in the wake of dis­con­tin­u­ing its $370 Keurig Kold sys­tem, which made cold bev­er­ages in­clud­ing Coke.

Keurig also laid off an­other 200 in 2015.

Sean Han­nity said he con­sid­ered Keurig CEO Bob Gam­gort’s com­ments an apol­ogy and asked for a “cease-fire” in de­stroy­ing Keurig ma­chines.

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