Fox News has cut ties with MAGA vlogging superstars Diamond & Silk, who had contributed original content to the network’s streaming service Fox Nation since shortly after its late 2018 launch.
The sudden split comes after the Trump-boosting siblings have come under fire for promoting conspiracy theories and disinformation about the coronavirus. “After what they’ve said and tweeted you won’t be seeing them on Fox Nation or Fox News anytime soon,” a source with knowledge of the matter told The Daily Beast.
After rising to prominence during the 2016 election, Lynette “Diamond” Hardaway and Rochelle “Silk” Richardson leveraged their newfound celebrity into regular sycophantic appearances on Fox News, resulting in President Donald Trump raving about their performances, featuring them at rallies, and treating them as “senior advisers.”
The social-media personalities were eventually tapped to provide weekly videos for Fox Nation after it launched as a subscription-based online video network. Their episodes, essentially 5-7 minute distillations of their freeform live-streams, appeared like clockwork on the streaming service until earlier this month.
No new episodes of their online program have been uploaded since April 7, as CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy first noted over the weekend. Prior to this month, the duo never missed a week posting episodes since December 2018.
A spokesperson for Fox News did not respond to a request for comment. Diamond & Silk also did not reply when emailed by The Daily Beast.
The sisters’ Fox guest spots have also dried up recently. According to a search of TVEyes, a cable-news monitoring system, Diamond & Silk haven’t appeared on the network since a March 6 interview on Fox & Friends and a March 7 hit on the now-defunct Fox Business Network show hosted by Trish Regan, who was also ditched by Fox after her own comments calling the pandemic an “impeachment scam.”
Diamond & Silk have used their heavy social-media presence to be at the forefront of right-wing misinformation about the COVID-19 outbreak. For instance, during their March 30 livestream, the duo claimed that the number of American coronavirus deaths has been inflated to make Trump look bad.
“What I need to know is how many people have passed away in New York, and what I need to know is: Who has the bodies?” Diamond asked. “I need for somebody that does investigative work to call the morgues. To call the funeral homes. We need to know, because I don't trust anything else that comes out of his mouth now... Something's not right here. Something is off here.”
She added: “Is this being deliberately spread? Look, I’m not being a conspiracy theorist, this is real, but I’m asking my own questions. What the hell is going on?"
Silk, meanwhile, baselessly asserted that the disease was “man-made” and “engineered,” wondering aloud if there was a “little deep-state action going on behind the scenes.” She also questioned whether the World Health Organization had a “switch” to “turn this virus on and off?”
The pair would go on to question the death toll in other tweets and video posts, asking at one point, “Why did they have to inflate the numbers?”
A day after Diamond and Silk’s last Fox Nation episode was posted online, Twitter removed a post from the pro-Trump sisters calling for people to expose themselves to the virus that has now killed more than 55,000 Americans. “The only way we can become immune to the environment; we must be out in the environment,” the since-deleted tweet read. “Quarantining people inside of their houses for extended periods will make people sick!”
They followed up that deleted tweet with an April 10 live stream that featured the pair pushing even more unhinged conspiracies and dangerous commentary, such as saying they’ll refuse to take any coronavirus vaccine that tech giant Bill Gates was involved in because he’s pushing for “population control.”
“Kudos if you make your vaccines for people and you want to help people,” Diamond exclaimed. “But I have a problem receiving any vaccine from any entity, especially anybody like Bill Gates who pushed for population control. The same thing that Margaret Sanger pushed for.”
“Abortions! Genocide!” Silk shouted in response.
During the same broadcast, they also openly wondered whether 5G technology was being used to infect people with coronavirus in an effort to fill “empty” hospitals, suggesting that the “deep state snakes” were building towers in certain areas to “turn things on and off to make sure that certain things go down so those hospital beds can be filled?” Conspiracy theories linking coronavirus and 5G have gained more momentum lately in fringe far-right media.
Fox News has largely remained quiet on any controversy sparked by the duo, noting in the past that the siblings aren’t technically full-time Fox employees but are more akin to independent contractors as they pay them to license their weekly videos for the streaming service.