Fox News Bans Ad For Documentary About American Nazi Rally in 1939

Gif: Field of Vision

Fox News has refused to air an ad for the short documentary film A Night at the Garden, according to a new report from the Hollywood Reporter.


The 7-minute movie, which was recently nominated for an Academy Award, explores the terrifying day on February 20, 1939 when thousands of American Nazis held a rally at Madison Square Garden in New York. The CEO of Fox News reportedly claims that an ad for the anti-Nazi movie is “not appropriate for our air.”

The 30-second ad, titled “It Can Happen Here,” was supposed to run during the Sean Hannity Show earlier this week. The title of the ad is a reference to the 1935 novel It Can’t Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis which predicted a rise of fascism in the United States during the 1930s. But Fox News apparently doesn’t want anti-Nazi content on its channel.

From the Hollywood Reporter:

The ad was bought to air during Monday night’s edition of Sean Hannity’s primetime show through a local advertising buy on Charter Communication’s Spectrum service in Los Angeles, but was precluded by breaking news — coverage of President Trump’s rally in Texas.

The film’s distributor, Field of Vision, then decided to purchase a national spot on Hannity’s show, but was rebuffed by the network, which controls national advertising.

“It’s amazing to me that the C.E.O. of Fox News would personally inject herself into a small ad buy just to make sure that Hannity viewers weren’t exposed to this chapter of American history,” the film’s director told the Hollywood Reporter in a statement.

Fox News sent Gizmodo a strange statement after this article was first published.


“The ad in question is full of disgraceful Nazi imagery regardless of the film’s message and did not meet our guidelines,” Marianne Gambelli, president of ad sales at Fox News, told Gizmodo in a statement emailed by Fox News PR.

The media relations person also stressed to Gizmodo that “no other national network has taken the ad.”


You can watch the TV ad that was banned below to judge for yourself whether the ad is “disgraceful.” And you can watch the full 7-minute Oscar-nominated film on Vimeo.


We’ve looked at a lot of Nazi history here on the Paleofuture blog over the past few years. Like how American PR pros helped sell the Nazis to Americans, how the Nazis kept a list of powerful friends in Los Angeles, how America’s top Nazi sued Warner Bros. for libel, and how the publisher of the L.A. Times was buddying up with Nazis during the 1930s.

The Nazi movement in the U.S. was a very real thing and it’s terrifying to see the parallels to today. As just one recent example, a man wearing a MAGA hat assaulted a BBC cameraman this week at one of President Donald Trump’s neo-fascist rallies in El Paso, Texas. President Trump often calls the media “fake news” as a way to rile up his supporters.


“I covered endless Trump rallies in the run-up to the election and since - and there is a pattern,” the BBC’s North America editor explained yesterday.

“The attacks on the media are hugely popular with his supporters. They are every bit as much a part of his ‘set’ as Honky Tonk Woman and Satisfaction are part of a Rolling Stones concert. You just can’t imagine it not happening.”


Trumpism isn’t literal Nazism. But it doesn’t have to be in order to create dangerous conditions in the United States. It can happen here. And Sean Hannity knows that better than most people.

[Hollywood Reporter]

Update, 7:55am: This article was updated with a copy of the ad that was banned by Fox News.


Update, 11:08am: This article was updated with a statement from Fox News.

Matt Novak is a senior writer at Gizmodo and founder of He's writing a book about the movies U.S. presidents watched at the White House, Camp David, and on Air Force One.



They were probably concerned about being flooded with calls asking when the next meeting would occur....