Right-wing provocateur Dan Bongino on Monday seemed to issue a challenge to his syndicated radio show’s carrier: Get rid of your vaccine mandate for employees or fire me. “You can’t have both,” he said.
More than two months ago, Cumulus Media announced that ahead of the company’s scheduled Oct. 11 return-to-work date, employees would be required to get at least one shot of the approved COVID-19 vaccines before coming back to the office. CEO Mary Berner said the rule would apply to all employees save for those who permanently work from a remote location or those with legal exceptions.
“Put simply, we believe that Force Cumulus is at our best when we’re working together in offices,” Berner wrote in a memo to staffers. “To do that as safely as we reasonably can, we’re requiring that everyone be vaccinated except those legally excepted. It would neither be fair nor do we have the bandwidth to make exceptions based on individual preferences.”
Inside Radio reported last week that multiple Cumulus employees who refused to get vaccinated had either been fired or quit. That included several radio hosts, one of whom called the mandate “unethical and immoral,” prompting Bongino’s Monday rant.
“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 railed against COVID-19 mitigation efforts. “But as a result of that, there's been some reporting about some people who've had to separate from their jobs or moved into different positions because of it. And I'm kind of done with that. Yeah, I’m not going to play along with that.”
Bongino then claimed he told Cumulus—which carries The Dan Bongino Show on hundreds of stations—how he felt about the mandates and threatened to invite the hosts who’d been fired or quit to appear on his show to rail against their ex-employer. Bongino similarly declared the company’s rules to be “unethical” and “immoral.”
While claiming “I don’t work for anyone,” Bongino said he is merely a “partner with Cumulus,” and so he challenged the radio giant to cancel his program, vowing to “not let this go.”
“Cumulus is going to have to make a decision with me if they want to continue this partnership or they don’t. 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 do not work for you; I never will. You may have had other people in a corner, but you don’t have me.”
Bongino himself got the jab on the advice of his doctor, he said, because he is a cancer survivor. Even so, the radio host insisted, he is fighting Cumulus Media’s “political decision.”
But while Bongino raged against Cumulus’ vaccine rules on Monday, he was notably silent about the stringent vaccine policy implemented by his other partners at Fox Corp. (Bongino hosts a Saturday night talk show on Fox News and his radio show is live-streamed on the conservative cable channel’s streaming outfit Fox Nation.)
Though Fox News’ parent company doesn’t mandate all staffers to be vaccinated, it does require staffers to either provide positive proof of vaccination status or undergo daily COVID-19 testing. The Biden administration’s rules only require weekly testing of unvaccinated employees.
Bongino is not the only mandate critic at Fox who has clammed up when it comes to discussing their employer’s requirements. Both Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity recently ducked and dodged when directly asked to comment on Fox’s policy.