Some of the most prominent entertainment producers, writers, and actors associated with 21st Century Fox on Tuesday publicly declared their embarrassment to be even remotely connected to Fox News.
The right-wing cable channel’s star hosts have dutifully defended President Donald Trump’s cruel policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border and placing the kids in cage-like detention centers.
Trump‘s favorite show Fox & Friends, for example, spent the past several days defending the policy and promoting the administration’s lie that the child separations are the result of a Democratic Party-backed law rather than the White House’s own orders.
Fox primetime star Tucker Carlson, meanwhile, has repeatedly deflected from controversy over the child-separation policy. “If you're looking to understand what’s actually happening in this country, always assume the opposite of whatever they're telling you on the big news stations,” he said last week. And on Monday evening—echoing the rhetoric of white nationalists—Carlson claimed that critics of Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy “care more about foreigners than about their own people.”
And his primetime colleague Laura Ingraham described the detention facilities where children are forcibly removed from their parents as “essentially summer camps.”
Comments like those have set off a wave of outrage among the icons who have worked closely with Fox News’ corporate cousin’s at the Fox broadcasting network. (Disney and Comcast are currently vying to buy most of 21st Century Fox’s assets, but under both proposed deals, the Murdoch family would retain ownership of Fox News and the Fox broadcast network).
Family Guy creator and lead voice actor Seth MacFarlane said Saturday that he is ashamed to work for Fox broadcasting, citing one of Carlson’s on-air declarations about the media’s coverage of the immigration crisis.
“In other words, don’t think critically, don’t consult multiple news sources, and in general, don’t use your brain. Just blindly obey Fox News,” MacFarlane wrote of Carlson’s remarks. “This is fringe shit, and it’s business like this that makes me embarrassed to work for this company.”
Similarly, on Monday, Steve Levitan, who Emmy-winning ABC sitcom Modern Family is produced by 20th Century Fox TV, agreed with MacFarlane and expressed additional disgust, singling out host Ingraham’s comments likening the child detention centers to summer camp.
“Let me officially join @SethMacFarlane in saying I’m disgusted to work at a company that has anything whatsoever to do with @FoxNews,” he wrote. “This bullshit is the opposite of what #ModernFamily stands for.”
“I think this is the POV of almost every artist/writer/actor working with the entertainment division at FOX, which is progressive and open minded, but brought down by the despicable news division,” Wendy Molyneux, writer of Fox animated series Bob’s Burgers, tweeted about Levitan’s statement. “Hard to reconcile. I think they’ll have a hard time holding on to artists.”
“I have made two films for 20th Century Fox and love the people in the movie and TV divisions. But I too cannot condone the support their news division promotes toward the immoral and abusive policies and actions taken by this current administration toward immigrant children,” Paul Feig, director of 20th Century Fox films The Heat and Spy, wrote Tuesday afternoon.
One other prominent Fox entertainment alumnus called on prominent network employees to take their outrage even further.
In a series of tweets, Judd Apatow—who said he last worked with Fox in 2002—admonished Fox News executives, and specifically the Murdoch family. He called upon more of the broadcast network’s entertainment stars to speak out against their corporate cousin Fox News.
“It’s important to speak up when your boss is the propaganda arm which promotes putting children in cages and holding them hostage so Trump can build a wall,” Apatow wrote in praise of Levitan’s statements. “What other stars, showrunners or executives from Fox will speak up against this madness?
He then continued: “People don’t want to deal with the fact that when you work for any part of Fox you are supporting a family which has made billions lying and manipulating our citizens for their personal financial gain. Now that includes supporting the kidnapping of children. That’s your boss.”
“If EVERY Fox Star and show runner said this policy was evil and protested to the Murdoch family it would make a huge difference in this national debate,” he concluded.
—Additional reporting by Andrew Kirell.