On Monday, right-wing provocateur Dan Bongino appeared to challenge the carrier of his syndicated radio show: Get rid of your employee vaccination warrant or fire me. “You can’t have both,” he said.
More than two months ago, Cumulus Media announced that before the scheduled return to work date of October 11, employees would be required to receive at least one injection of the approved COVID-19 vaccines before returning to the office. CEO Mary Berner said the rule would apply to all employees except those who work permanently remotely or those with statutory exceptions.
“Put simply, we believe Force Cumulus is at its best when we work together in offices,” Berner wrote in a note to staffers. “To do this in the safest way possible, we require everyone to be vaccinated, except those who are legally excluded. It would neither be fair nor do we have the bandwidth to make exceptions based on individual preferences.
Inside Radio reported last week that several Cumulus employees who refused to be vaccinated had been fired or resigned. This included several radio hosts, one of whom called the mandate “unethical and immoral”, prompting Bongino’s rant on Monday.
“So Cumulus, for some stupid reason, thought it would be a really good idea to do a vaccine mandate. Why they would do that, I have no idea,” exclaimed the right-wing pundit, who is fully vaccinated but has repeatedly denounced COVID-19 mitigation efforts. “But as a result of this there have been reports of some people having to quit their jobs or change jobs because of it. And I’m kind of done with that. Yeah, I’m not going to play with that.
Bongino then claimed to have told Cumulus – which carries The Dan Bongino Show on hundreds of stations – how he felt about the tenures and threatened to invite hosts who had been fired or quit to appear on his show to rail against their ex-employer. Bongino also said the company’s rules were “unethical” and “immoral.”
While claiming “I don’t work for anyone”, Bongino said he was only a “partner of Cumulus”, and so he challenged the radio giant to cancel his program, vowing to ” don’t let that go.”
“Cumulus will have to decide with me if they want to continue this partnership or not. But I’m talking to you on their airwaves. They don’t have to let that happen,” he exclaimed. “You have a choice. I work with you. I don’t work for you; I never will. You may have had other people in a corner, but you don’t have me.
Bongino himself received the stroke on the advice of his doctor, he said, because he is a cancer survivor. Even so, the radio host insisted, he is fighting the “political decision” of Cumulus Media.
But as Bongino raged against Cumulus vaccination rules on Monday, he was notably quiet about the strict vaccination policy implemented by his other Fox Corp partners. (Bongino hosts a Saturday night talk show on Fox News and his radio show airs live on the streaming equipment of the conservative cable channel Fox Nation.)
Although Fox News’ parent company does not require all staff members to be vaccinated, it does require staff members to provide positive proof of vaccination status or undergo daily COVID-19 testing. Biden administration rules only require weekly testing for unvaccinated employees.
Bongino isn’t the only Fox spokesperson to keep quiet when it comes to discussing his employer’s demands. Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity recently ducked and dodged when asked directly to comment on Fox politics.