Fox pulls Hannity from Tea Party event

April 15, 2010 at 8:00 PM
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CINCINNATI, April 15 (UPI) -- Fox News Channel executives Thursday ordered Sean Hannity not to broadcast his talk show as part of a Tea Party event in Cincinnati, the network confirmed.

The decision came after FNC executives learned Hannity was to be the rally's headliner, with ticket sales proceeds going to a local Tea Party chapter, the Los Angeles Times reported. Hannity was called back to New York to do his show in studio, the newspaper said.

The rally at Fifth Third Arena on the University of Cincinnati campus was to feature speeches by conservative commentator Jonah Goldberg and local Tea Party figures. The price of admission was $5, but seats near Hannity's show set were priced at $20, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

FNC executives said they had not been aware Hannity was being billed as a headliner or that event organizers were charging an admission fee to Hannity's show, the Times said. Plans call for network executives to discuss the matter with Hannity's staff, including John Finley, executive producer of Hannity's nightly Fox show.

Fox spokesman Bill Shine said in a statement the network had not agreed to allow Tea Party organizers to use Hannity's TV show "to profit from broadcasting his show from the event."

Other Fox personalities appeared at Tea Party events Thursday but the network says they were covering the events as news -- not promoting them.

Hundreds of those attending the Cincinnati rally left after learning Hannity would not appear, the Enquirer reported.

Pat Kellison, who said she bought Hannity's book and paid $20 to get in, said she wanted her money back.

The Enquirer said the arena, which seats about 13,000, was less than half full at about 6 p.m.

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