Fox News anchor Sean Hannity softened his tone on Alabama senatorial candidate Roy Moore after Moore responded to his 24-hour ultimatum.
Moore was accused of sexual misconduct by several women over the past week. One accuser said Moore touched her over her underwear and tried to force her to touch his genitals when she was 14 and he was 32. The other accusers were “between the ages of 16 and 18, and [Moore] was in his early 30s.” On Tuesday night, Hannity challenged Moore to “remove any doubt” within 24 hours. If he could not, then Hannity told Moore that he would need to exit the race.
Moore tweeted an open letter, addressing Hannity by name.
The letter included his denial of a major piece of evidence — the high school yearbook one accuser said Moore signed. Moore, and at another point, his lawyer, said that the handwriting in the book didn’t match with his own, evident by the different ways the number 7 was written.
“I don’t rush to judgment,” Hannity declared during his Wednesday night segment.
Hannity also agreed with First Daughter Ivanka Trump’s statement that “there’s a special place in Hell for people who prey on children” after mentioning that he had a 16-year-old daughter — though Trump also noted that she had “no reason to doubt the victims’ accounts.”
“Today, we got the answers to the questions that we asked,” Hannity said, speaking of Moore’s open letter.
Believing that Moore answered all of his questions, Hannity said it was up to the people of Alabama to decide what to do with the information.
He repeated the sentiment on Twitter, saying that Alabamians would be the ones to “sort through the issues before them and decide.”
Hannity faced a great deal of criticism and a loss of advertisers on his show after his initial coverage of the allegations seemingly insinuated that Moore’s alleged conduct toward a 14-year-old was “consensual.”
A #FireHannity hashtag campaign led Keurig to announce that it would follow in the footsteps of other companies and remove its ads from Hannity’s show, lest it face a boycott. The announcement sparked threats of a second boycott, this time from Hannity’s fans, who began to take videos of themselves smashing their Keurig machines. Hannity later called for an end to the boycott.
Following the revelations of Moore’s of inappropriate conduct, several of his would-be Senate colleagues and other prominent Republicans asked that he “step aside.”