Media Giant Cumulus Cuts Ties With Industry Group Podcast Movement After Bizarre Attack On Ben Shapiro
Ben Shapiro is seen on the set of "Candace" on April 28, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Jason Kempin via Getty Images

Media giant Cumulus cut ties Tuesday with Podcast Movement, the trade association that vilified The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro last month for simply appearing at a recent trade show where he cordially greeted fans near a booth sponsored by the company he co-founded.

Cumulus, the Atlanta-based owner of over 400 radio stations, has syndicated Shapiro’s eponymous show through its Westwood One subsidiary since 2019. The company took exception to tweets sent out by Podcast Movement apologizing for Shapiro’s presence at the August 24 event in Dallas. The tweets claimed “harm” had been done to event-goers simply because the conservative commentator had briefly attended.

“At Cumulus Media, our tenet is that Every Voice Matters and we support conferences and trade events where differing political viewpoints can be expressed and received with respect,” the company said in a statement. “As such, we were dismayed and disappointed by Podcast Movement’s handling of the reaction to our partner, top podcaster, and conservative talk leader Ben Shapiro’s mere presence at Podcast Movement.”

“After giving the leaders of Podcast Movement sufficient time to appropriately address their misstep, we are disassociating from Podcast Movement, including canceling our 2023 sponsorship plans,” the statement concluded.

Shapiro, the Harvard Law-educated radio host, podcaster, and best-selling author who has engaged in civil debates with conservatives and liberals alike, was seen chatting amiably with attendees at the event. But one person in attendance was apparently triggered by his mere presence and complained to Podcast Movement on Twitter.

The group wrote in its apology that Shapiro’s presence caused “harm” to some in attendance and promised to be “more careful” when considering sponsors in the future.

“Hi folks, we owe you an apology before sessions kick off for the day,” Podcast Movement tweeted Thursday morning. “Yesterday afternoon, Ben Shapiro briefly visited the PM22 expo area near The Daily Wire booth. Though he was not registered or expected, we take full responsibility for the harm done by his presence.”

The Daily Wire co-founder Jeremy Boreing fumed about the treatment of his longtime partner at the company’s “Backstage” event last week, calling it “unadulterated bigotry.” On Tuesday, Boreing praised Cumulus and called for other media companies and figures to stand up for free expression, civil discourse, and ideological diversity.

“I’m glad to see our longtime partner Cumulus/Westwood One taking such a strong and public stand against Podcast Movement’s outright and abject bigotry,” Boreing said. “Though Podcast Movement quietly removed their bigoted tweet thread over the weekend, they still have yet to retract and publicly apologize for their hateful comments about Ben Shapiro and The Daily Wire.

“In an illiberal moment such as the one we’re currently living in, if we don’t stand up to this kind of bigoted behavior it’s only going to get worse,” he continued. “I certainly hope Cumulus’s strong response to Podcast Movement is the first of many others like it.”

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