Things aren’t looking so great for the Trump-less New Celebrity Apprentice. First of all, the ratings are no great shakes for the program, which boasts Arnold Schwarzenegger as its new host. And second, a major advertiser to the show has pulled its sponsorship. Kawasaki USA, the motorcycle and ATV manufacturer, has dropped its support, citing backlash against Trump.
“Once we understood the concerns of American citizens, we have taken the approach of agreeing not to participate in the show in the future as long as Mr. Trump is involved as an executive producer,” Kawasaki spokesman Kevin Allen told Reuters Wednesday. Kawasaki could not be reached for immediate comment, but a person familiar with the situation confirmed that the company sought to cut ties with the series.
Now, you may be like me, wondering if you’ve seen a Kawasaki ad on any show lately, but the company stands by its decision in spite of the fact that the President-elect’s involvement is minimal (Trump is executive producer in name only).
Kawasaki may be feeling the heat from a movement called #GrabYourWallet. California-based marketing consultant Shannon Coulter started the hashtag to put pressure on businesses supporting enterprises tied to the Trump family. Coulter reported that she has removed Kawaski from her #GrabYourWallet list:
— Shannon Coulter (@shannoncoulter) January 18, 2017
But corporations threatening to pull advertising from television series in the face of controversy is certainly not without precedent. You may remember the dustup surrounding the TLC show 19 Kids and Counting a couple of years back. When one of the Duggar family sons faced accusations of molesting two of his sisters, advertisers claimed to drop the show like a hot potato without actually taking any money away from the show.
The main difference is that 19 Kids and Counting was a popular series, while The New Celebrity Apprentice isn’t exactly drawing audiences.
So, will other advertisers drop Arnold and his band of B-list competitors? I guess we’ll have to tune in and find out.