(Updated at 6:27 p.m.)
Delta Air Lines has pulled its advertising from cable TV’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart ,” following fallout from the host’s reference to a controversial Nativity scene as a “vagina manger.”
A spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based airline told Buzzfeed.com that the ad pullout had nothing to do with the Catholic League’s campaign to get Stewart to apologize for the April 16 segment on the Comedy Central show.
The “Daily Show” segment featured Stewart mocking the Fox News Channel for not covering a so-called Republican “war on women.” He said, “Maybe women could protect their reproductive organs from unwanted medical intrusions with vagina mangers.”
The Catholic League noted that that during the segment a “picture flashed on the screen of a naked woman with her legs spread with a Nativity scene ornament in between.”
In a statement, the Catholic civil rights group called the segment “the most vulgar expression of hate speech ever aired on television.” President Bill Donohue demanded Stewart apologize and threatened to pressure the show’s sponsors to pull their advertising if he didn’t.
Stewart didn’t apologize. During a recent comedy routine in Clearwater, Fla., Stewart referred to the Catholic League’s campaign with, “I’m not going to censor myself to comfort your ignorance,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The Catholic League launched its campaign, sending the controversial Nativity image to the show’s advertisers, encouraging other major religious groups to join the effort, buying protest ads in major publications and applying pressure on Comedy Central’s parent company, Viacom.
Delta spokeswoman Leslie Parker told Buzzfeed the ad pullout had nothing to do with “any opinions expressed” by the show. “We are constantly evaluating our advertising strategy and at this time no longer advertise during “The Daily Show”, she said.
At least one major sponsor, however, is not pulling its ad. Cereal maker Kellogg said in a statement: “Consumers speak most loudly when they vote with their remote control and change the channel or turn off the TV if a program does not fit their personal criteria.”
Donohue said that while the Catholic League is pleased by Delta’s decision, it was taken aback by Kellogg’s response.
“In other words, Kellogg’s is telling Christians to shove it,” Donohue said in a statement. “But they made a mistake… We are also calling for a national boycott of all Kellogg’s cereals.” Donohue said “over 700 photos have been sent to leaders in Battle Creek, Michigan,” Kellogg’s headquarters.
In a message to Viacom, Donohue wrote: “What Stewart did wasn’t a joke. It was hate speech … All we want is an apology.”