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Black Fox News employees rebelling against network execs for letting hosts cater to white supremacists: report

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According to a report from The Daily Beast, the Fox News network has a rebellion brewing among Black employees who are furious that network executives have done nothing to rein in on-air talent like Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, who they believe have turned their shows into must-see TV for white supremacists.

In interviews with the Beast’s Lachlan Cartwright, Lloyd Grove, Andrew Kirell, Noah Shachtman and Justin Baragona, employees claim that there is internal turmoil at the headquarters of the conservative network over how African-Americans, the Black Lives Matter movement and Black victims of police shootings are being covered.

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According to the report, the catalyst for the internal uprising came in the aftermath of a graphic shown on host Bret Baier’s show, which highlighted stock market bounces after shootings of Black Americans. The network promptly apologized for displaying the graphic.

The report notes that four days after the offending graphic premiered on Baier’s show, executives held a conference call with Black employees who were still fuming over that incident as well as being angry with how African-Americans were being portrayed on prime time shows hosted by some of Fox’s most notable personalities.

The Beast reported that the 90-minute phone call included Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott, President Jay Wallace, and HR chief Kevin Lord, along with “Marsheila J. Hayes, the vice president of diversity and inclusion at Fox Corporation, who is Black.”

Pointing out that multiple employees, “expressed anger and distress about rampant racism at Fox, both on- and off-air,” the Beast noted that Charles Payne — one of the network’s more prominent African-American personalities — also expressed his disgust.

Payne “had previously called Scott directly and, per a person familiar, was ‘ripshit’ about the Baier graphic debacle and about racist remarks that Laura Ingraham had recently made on the air,” the report stated adding, “At one point on the June 9 call, sources told The Daily Beast, an irate Payne suggested he’d been the victim of racial discrimination, repeatedly passed over for opportunities given instead to white colleagues. Elsewhere, the staffers recalled, Payne, who has been at Fox since 2007, lamented the network’s tone when covering Black cultural stories, including the killing of California rapper and anti-gang activist Nipsey Hussle. How can he talk to his children about Fox News, the host wondered, when it portrays people like Hussle in a racist, stereotypical manner as a gangster?”

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Since that time the network has had to deal with the fall-out after host Tucker Carlson’s head writer had to step down over highly inflammatory racist comments he posted online under an assumed name.

According to the report, “CEO Lachlan Murdoch personally approved what Carlson would say” when he apologized and network officials expected his act of contrition would be pre-taped, but instead he went on live and Black employees were not happy with the end result.

The report notes, “behind the scenes there is a growing despair among employees about the network’s role in demonizing and spreading fear about Black Americans in particular,” with one employee angrily stating, “They created a cell—they created a white supremacist cell inside the top cable network in America, the one that directly influences the president… This is rank racism excused by Murdoch.”

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Carlson is the focus of much of the anger, with the report claiming, “Tucker Carlson, who is now the network’s most-watched primetime star, has also drawn the ire of his colleagues, as his increasingly unhinged rants about Black Lives Matter and ongoing anti-police brutality protests—the overwhelming majority of which have been peaceful—have made their way into President Donald Trump’s similarly bonkers speeches as of late.”

After the network tried to provide cover for Carlson for calling the Black Lives Matter protesters a “mob” on-air — saying the host meant “Democrats and inner-city politicians” — one Fox employee called the network out and said Carlson’s characterization was deliberate and done to impress Donald Trump.

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“Bull. Shit. They have the script written that gives them an out,” the Fox News employee told the Beast. “But what the viewers hear is the white supremacist crap. And that crap goes straight to the White House.” 

According to the report, instead of tensions cooling, Carlson’s head writer apology only fanned the flames of anger amongst staffers.

According to the report, “his [Carlson’s] snarling, defensive commentary has only further served to anger the primetime star’s co-workers,” with one employee adding, “What has happened since that [June 9] phone call is we’ve taken two steps forward and now three steps back. What [Fox executives] don’t understand is you had a white supremacist in a very senior position on [Carlson’s] show. That kind of thing doesn’t live in a garden that isn’t fertile.”

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The company said in a statement: “Fox News Media is committed to providing an ongoing dialogue targeting issues of diversity and workplace inclusion, which is why we recently took the unprecedented action of providing an open forum among an intimate group of diverse employees to candidly discuss this critical issue. We have long been a leader in cable news for featuring a broad range of voices, and will continue those efforts to ensure all views are respected and celebrated both on and off air.”

You can read more here (subscription required).


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2020 Election

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