US conservatives have smashed their coffee machines in protest after a manufacturer pulled advertising from a Fox News program when the host appeared sympathetic to a Republican candidate accused of sexual misconduct.
The Keurig coffee company withdrew its sponsorship of Sean Hannity’s talk show on Saturday over his sympathetic coverage of Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who is accused of sexually assaulting underage girls.
Reporting on the claims last week, Mr Hannity appeared to suggest the allegations were fabricated and defended some encounters as being “consensual”, prompting Keurig to withdraw its advertisements.
The ad boycott sparked outrage from conservative viewers who smashed their Keurig-branded pod machines, which retail for around $US100-$300 ($A130-$400).
Hannity fans videoed themselves throwing the machines, bashing them with tools and even blowing them up with explosives.
This decision is disgusting, and will not be tolerated.
Regardless of any response, I am done with you, Keurig.
— Mike (@Fuctupmind) November 12, 2017
— Angelo John Gage (@AngeloJohnGage) November 12, 2017
— Snoop Bailey (@vol80) November 12, 2017
— Reverend Bob Levy (@TheRevBobLevy) November 12, 2017
— Joyce Bailey (@snowstarke) November 13, 2017
— Deplorable Michelle (@Michelle_Ann7) November 13, 2017
Five women have accused Mr Moore, a former judge, of inappropriately touching them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. One of the women was 14 at the time of the alleged incident, the Washington Post reported. Mr Moore, now 70, has described the accusations as “fake news”.
The #BoycottKeurig hashtag went viral and the tweets were widely mocked, including by actor Zach Braff: “Destroys coffee machine to protest company pulling ads off show that defended alleged child molester. What a time to be alive.”
In response to the backlash, Keurig CEO Bob Gamgort apologised for taking sides, according to an internal memo obtained by the Washington Post.
The show’s host, Mr Hannity, initially said the videos flooding Twitter were “so, so funny”. He later called for a ceasefire and said the coffee company had been “misled” by left-wingers.
“Frankly, I think [Keurig] were victims of this group they knew nothing about,” Mr Hannity said. “I feel sorry that they were dragged into politics.”
Later on Twitter he wrote: “Hold on to your coffee machines @Keurig has recognised it got caught up and misled by a bigot.”
The candidate himself, Mr Moore, is facing pressure to stand down ahead of the Alabama election.
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell led a chorus of establishment Republicans urging him to quit the race after a fifth woman came forward with allegations.
Mr Moore has so far refused, and denied “any sexual misconduct with anyone”.
The New Daily has contacted Keurig for comment.