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ViacomCBS Staffers Petition Pluto TV to Drop Channel That Carries Bill O’Reilly

Fern Siegel

ViacomCBS employees want AVOD Pluto TV to ax The First, a new conservative streaming channel it carries, if it doesn’t drop former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s show.

O’Reilly, who was fired from Fox in 2017, began his “No Spin News” on June 2.

Streamers STIRR and DistroTV also air “No Spin News.” The First, which reaches an estimated 25 million households, is also available on Xumo.

The petition is set against the backdrop of George Floyd’s death and the subsequent protests nationwide. Many networks have been reassessing their programing.

First reported by The Information, the petition charges O’Reilly with “a well-documented history of making racist comments, denying the existence of systemic racism, undermining the efforts of Black protesters and insulting Black public figures.”

In a statement, ViacomCBS said: “Pluto TV, by design, is a service that makes available a wide variety of channels programmed by third parties, and we think it is critical to represent a diversity of viewpoints, even those we disagree with.”

(However, ViacomCBS announced this week it would not run reality show “Cops,” headed into its 33rd season.)

Pluto TV carries more than 200 channels; it was acquired last year for $340 million.

“Tucker Carlson Tonight,” the show that replaced O’Reilly’s on Fox, is also under fire for its host’s controversial statements. As a result, Walt Disney, T-Mobile, Papa John’s, Vari, and SmileDirectClub have reportedly stopped their ads.

A Fox News spokesperson confirmed all national dollars/ads were moved to other programs and no national money has been lost.