No Apology: Tucker Carlson and Jeanine Pirro Use Outrage Over Comments to Promote Their Shows
Two controversies over statements past and present engulfed Fox News personalities Tucker Carlson and Jeanine Pirro over the weekend, but neither showed any regret or offered an apology.
Instead of contrition, both Pirro and Carlson—under fire for remarks about Muslims and women respectively—responded by saying people that might be upset should simply tune into upcoming episodes.
In her Saturday evening show, “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” Pirro mused over whether Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress and the first to wear a hijab, might be more loyal to Islam than the U.S. After all, Pirro said, Omar wears a headscarf for religious reason.
“Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to sharia law which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?” Pirro asked the audience during her opening monologue.
Outrage quickly followed the comment, which drew on xenophobic tropes and Islamophobia.
The New York Times reporter Nick Confessore referred to the comment as a “slur.”
“Offensive and unacceptable,” tweeted educator and activist Dr. Debbie Almontaser.
Despite the reaction and the racist content of her comments, however, Pirro made no public apology. That was left to Fox‘s public relations department, which on Sunday night distanced the company from the remarks and criticized the judge.
In her own statement on Sunday night, Pirro said the intention of her comments “was to ask a question and start a debate.” She then invited Congresswoman Omar to come on her show “to discuss all of the important issues facing America today.”
Of course, by then the network was dealing with another PR nightmare. Reporting from Media Matters on Sunday evening unearthed a trove of comments from Carlson, host of Fox ratings hit “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” from appearances on a shock jock radio show between 2006 and 2011.
Carlson was a regular call-in guest to “The Bubba the Love Sponge Show,” where he joined the eponymous host and other guests in making misogynistic remarks and commented at length about rape and underage girls.
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