Fox News host Megyn Kelly called Catholic League president Bill Donohue out on Thursday over his remarks concerning the mass shooting attack against the satirists at Charlie Hebdo.
“I understand you didn’t like the message,” Kelly said, before asking him, “Did you really think they were not courageous in the face of death threats to be publishing what they did?”
“No. I think, first of all, they’re pornographers disguised as satirists,” Donohue replied. “We’re not talking about Mel Brooks. We’re talking about the functional equivalent of Larry Flynt going to print.”
While Donohue compared the French satirists to the Hustler publisher in a derisive manner, Kelly argued that the Supreme Court’s 1988 decision affirming Flynt’s right to mock public figures protected even “scatological” satire, calling it “the bedrock of the First Amendment.”
“The political cartoon is a weapon of attack, of scorn and ridicule and satire; it is least effective when it tries to pat some politician on the back,” she said, quoting from Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s decision. “It is usually as welcome as a bee sting and is always controversial in some quarters.”
“Here’s my response: if that’s the case, why don’t you show, right now, what they put on in those scatological comics?” Donohue asked her.
“It is the case,” Kelly replied, as she ended the segment.
“Not what I’m saying,” Donohue said, adding, “Nobody wants to put it in their newspaper, or TV. I wonder why.”
Donohue came under criticism on Tuesday after saying that Charlie Hebdo publisher Stephane Charbonnier “didn’t understand the role he played in his tragic death” and that he might not have been shot and killed “had he not been so narcissistic.”
On Thursday, he argued that people were approaching the issue in a “unidimensional way.”
“Freedom of speech is not an end — it’s a means to an end,” Donohue said.
“No, it’s also an end,” Kelly responded.
Watch the discussion, as posted online on Thursday, below.