Cumulus Media Disassociates Itself From Podcast Movement After Claiming Ben Shapiro Caused ‘Harm’

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Cumulus Media cut ties with a podcast conference over its apology for the alleged “harm” caused by the Daily Wire Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro’s presence at its annual exposition.

Cumulus is the owner of Westwood One, which has nationally syndicated Shapiro’s podcast, “The Ben Shapiro Show,” since 2019 and manages The Daily Wire’s advertising sales, the Daily Wire reported. The radio giant said it is “dismayed and disappointed” by the official conference, the Podcast Movement, publicly apologizing for Shapiro’s presence at his outlet’s booth at the annual PM22 exposition held Aug. 24.

Cumulus announced in a Tuesday statement that it has canceled its 2023 sponsorship plans for the conference after giving Podcast Movement “sufficient time” to address its statement against Shapiro.

“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 statement reads. “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.”

Podcast Movement made the apology Aug. 25 in a now-deleted Twitter thread that called Shapiro’s unexpected arrival at the event “unacceptable.”

“Hi folks, we owe you an apology before sessions kick off for the day. 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,” Podcast Movement tweeted. “There’s no way around it: We agreed to sell The Daily Wire a first-time booth based on the company’s large presence in podcasting. The weight of that decision is now painfully clear. Shapiro is a co-founder. A drop-in, however unlikely, should have been considered a possibility.”

“Those of you who called this ‘unacceptable’ are right. In 9 wonderful years growing and celebrating this medium, PM [Podcast Movement] has made mistakes,” it wrote. “The pain caused by this one will always stick with us. We promise that sponsors will be more carefully considered moving forward.”

The Daily Wire co-CEO Jeremy Boreing praised Cumulus Media and Westwood One for standing up to discriminatory language against conservatives.

“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,” he said in a statement obtained by the Daily Caller. “Through Podcast Movement quietly removed their bigoted tweet 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. I certainly hope Cumulus’s strong response to Podcast Movement is the first of many others like it.”

Shapiro previously tweeted that Podcast Movement threatened his “right to exist” in response to its full-fledged apology.

“Literally shaking rn. Podcast Movement is threatening my right to exist. This is erasure,” he said in an Aug. 25 tweet.

Podcast Movement did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.

Nicole Silverio

Follow Nicole Silverio on Twitter @NicoleMSilverio