Hate Can Cost You Money

The slogan “Get woke, go broke” is appealing, but unfortunately it often is not true. Wokeness has turned out all too well–so far, at least–for too many businesses.

But injecting left-wing politics into contexts where they don’t belong can have consequences. As Jimmy Kimmel proudly tells us:

ABC’s late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel has made Trump bashing a central part of his TV persona. Now he has publicly admitted that his decision has cost him “half of my fans — maybe more than that.”

But it was worth it!

In an interview this week with the Naked Lunch podcast, Jimmy Kimmel portrayed himself as a rebel, claiming he defied network bosses who hinted that trashing tens of millions of potential viewers might not be a good idea.

“There was at one time, maybe, I don’t know like right around the beginning of this whole like Trump thing where … that was kind of hinted at,” Kimmel said. “But I just said, ‘Listen, I get it. I don’t disagree. I mean, you’re right.’”

I would hope there are industries where losing half your customers would be a problem more than gently “hinted at,” but television apparently is not one of them.

“I have lost half of my fans — maybe more than that,” he said. “Ten years ago, among Republicans, I was the most popular talk show host, at least according to the research that they did.”

Kimmel continued: “I just said, if that’s what you want to do, I understand and I don’t begrudge you for it, but I’m not going to do that. So if you want somebody else to host the show, then that’s fine. That’s OK with me. I’m just not going to do it like that.”

What do we infer from this? Kimmel has plenty of money, so pushing his partisan political views on television is worth it to him. What’s the worst that can happen? ABC could replace him with someone else and he could retire, or go on to something different, with many millions in the bank.

But what about ABC? Maybe the network’s execs have scoured the landscape for late night hosts and concluded that Jimmy Kimmel, having driven away one-half of his audience, still draws more viewers than anyone else they can find.

That seems like the only rational basis for ABC’s tolerance of Kimmel’s self-indulgence. But it is hard to believe that ABC couldn’t find someone who would do better, because Kimmel isn’t doing that well:

[T]he once invincible Kimmel has been experiencing ratings problems in recent months. ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live has recently lagged behind two Fox News shows — Gutfeld! and Fox News @ Night.

I conclude that the people who run ABC’s entertainment division share Kimmel’s political biases and would rather indulge them than try to maximize revenue for their company. This is a sickness, unfortunately, that has infected many of America’s large companies.

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