Friday 19 October 2018

Fox News Channel faces backlash from Hollywood creators

Entertainment industry figures including Steve Levitan, Seth MacFarlane and Judd Apatow have hit out at the channel.

Donald Trump (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Donald Trump (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

By David Bauder

Fox News Channel faces a growing backlash among Hollywood creators after a prime-time presenter described detention facilities for children separated from their parents as “essentially summer camps”.

Modern Family co-creator Steve Levitan raised the possibility of no longer working with the 20th Century Fox television studio after tweeting his disgust with Laura Ingraham’s remarks.

The Fox News Channel host tried to walk back her remarks even before her show concluded on Monday night, but the damage had already been done.

Seth MacFarlane, creator of Fox’s Family Guy, donated 2.5 million dollars to National Public Radio and Southern California Public Radio’s newsgathering efforts.

On Sunday, MacFarlane tweeted that he was “embarrassed to work for this company” after pointing to a remark by Fox News’s Tucker Carlson that viewers should assume the opposite of what major news stations reported.

Judd Apatow, producer of Hollywood comedies including Anchorman and Trainwreck, challenged more Fox stars and executives to speak up and “make a huge difference in this national debate” about Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

Paul Feig, a producer and director who has done films for 20th Century Fox, posted that he could not condone the support of Fox News “toward the immoral and abusive policies and actions taken by this current administration toward immigrant children”.

Fox News declined to comment on the issue.

Hollywood types are not exactly the favourite of Fox News Channel personalities or viewers, but the developments could have business implications.

The ownership of the 20th Century Fox television and film studios, which are sister companies to Fox News, are currently up for grabs, the subject of a bidding war between Disney and Comcast.

Ms Ingraham made her remark while defending the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from parents of families caught illegally trying to cross the border into the US.

“Since more illegal immigrants are rushing to the border, more kids are being separated from their parents and temporarily being housed in what are essentially summer camps” or facilities that look like boarding schools, she said in the opening monologue of Monday night’s show.

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A protest to end forced separation of children from their parents at the border in Waco, Texas (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune-Herald/AP)

Shortly before her hour-long programme ended, she had apparently had word that there was a social media backlash to her “summer camps” remark. A description of one of the facilities in Texas on Sunday reported hundreds of children waiting in a series of cages created by metal fencing.

“Apparently there are a lot of people very upset because we referred to some of the detention facilities tonight as essentially like summer camps,” she said.

“The San Diego Union-Tribune today described the facilities as essentially like you would expect at a boarding school. So I will stick to there are some of them like boarding schools.”

Ms Ingraham, who has three adopted children, including one from Central America, suggested that people concerned about Mr Trump’s policy “take care of them the right way. Open your hearts and homes to them”.

In a statement, Fox News said Ms Ingraham’s “very personal, on-the-ground commitment” to children in need speaks for itself, as does her belief “in a common-sense, legal immigration system, which will continue to be a focus of her show”.

Press Association

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