Trump Calls for DirecTV Boycott Over 'Communist' Plot to Drop OAN

Former President Donald Trump has called on his supporters to "boycott and cancel" DirecTV if it follows through on a "Communist" plot to drop the right-wing One America News Network (OAN).

The satellite service provider announced last month that it would no longer be carrying OAN after its contract with parent company Herring Networks Inc. expires in April.

Donald Trump OAN DirecTV Boycott AT&T Cancel
Former President Donald Trump called on his supporters to "boycott and cancel" DirecTV for deciding to drop the right-wing One America News Network from its lineup. Trump is pictured during a rally in Florence, Arizona, on January 15, 2022. Mario Tama/Getty

In a Tuesday statement, Trump insisted that DirecTV and AT&T, which owns 70 percent of DirecTV, were making the decision to drop the "very popular channel" in service to the "Communist movement."

"If AT&T/DirecTV cancels OAN, I hope that everyone will boycott and cancel DirecTV," Trump said. "It is a very popular channel, far more popular than most would understand, and they are being treated horribly by the Radical Left lunatics running the networks."

"Instead of being allowed to grow, their voice is being shuttered," added the former president. "Don't let it happen, cancel DirecTV. If you feel infringed by what this Communist movement is doing, cancel DirecTV!"

It is not clear that OAN is "very popular." Although ratings company Nielsen does not currently track OAN since the network does not subscribe to its service, it was found to average only 14,000 daily viewers when it was tracked for a brief time in the spring of 2019.

OAN may have gained some new viewers since the 2020 presidential election, as it increasingly aired false claims of massive election fraud and became heavily promoted by and associated with Trump.

A number of "high-profile" OAN staffers left the network for fellow conservative network Newsmax, in pursuit of larger audience, better pay and less "extremism" in its pro-Trump coverage, according to a May report from The Daily Beast.

The network is available in roughly 30 million out of 121 million U.S. TV households, according to Reuters. The outlet reported that DirecTV is OAN's largest single carrier by far and accounts for about 90 percent of the network's revenue.

An October 2021 Reuters review of court records alleged that AT&T played a role "in creating and funding OAN," noting that founder Robert Herring Sr. said during a deposition that he created the network after the telecom giant "told us they wanted a conservative network."

The Reuters report spurred calls from a number of left-leaning advocacy groups for DirecTV to drop OAN from its lineup. DirecTV issued a statement saying that it "never had a financial interest in OAN's success and does not 'fund' OAN" following the report.

The satellite provider last month told Bloomberg, the first outlet to report on the decision to drop, that it had decided against renewing the OAN contract after "a routine internal review."

Trump initially suggested that his supporters boycott AT&T during a rally in Arizona last month, one day after news of the decision emerged. The former president complained that the choice to "cancel" the network by letting its contract expire was made "for purely political reasons."

Newsweek reached out to DirecTV for comment.