Fox TV’s Black-oriented streaming service, Fox Soul, abruptly canceled a Fourth of July program featuring Minister Louis Farrakhan on Monday after the Anti-Defamation League’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt and CNN anchor Jake Tapper, among other critics, slammed plans for a live broadcast of Farrakhan’s speech titled “Message to America.”
“Louis Farrakhan, a notorious #antisemite & #homophobe, inexplicably continues to get airtime,” Greenblatt tweeted over a promotional Fox Soul graphic touting the Farrakhan broadcast scheduled for this Saturday at 11 a.m. ET.
“THE CRITERION: THE HONORABLE MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN SPEAKS LIVE,” read the text over a smiling photograph of the bow-tied Nation of Islam cleric with a decades-long history of bigoted declarations. (Mainstream Muslims have long condemned the minister, who has praised Hitler as a “very great man.”)
“He has called Jews ‘termites’ and the #LGBTQ+ community ‘degenerates.’ He deserves condemnation, not exposure,” Greenblatt added, slamming the streaming service that the Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch-controlled Fox Corp. launched in January to appeal to an African-American viewership.
Tapper, meanwhile, tweeted, “Farrakhan is a vile anti-LGBTQ anti-Semitic misogynist. Why is a Fox channel airing his propaganda?”
Tapper’s comment drew a quick response from famed rapper, actor, and filmmaker Ice Cube, otherwise known as O’Shea Jackson—an apparent Farrakhan fan with his own voluminous record of anti-Semitic comments and hateful social media behavior.
“Watch your mouth Jake,” the 51-year-old Jackson tweeted at Tapper.
As outrage mounted, Fox Soul’s head of programming, James DuBose, dropped the Farrakhan speech and instead made plans to air a compilation of inspirational speeches about racial relations from “the greatest Black leaders and thinkers,” according to a release posted on Twitter.
The program, scheduled to air at 7 p.m. ET, might include such figures as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Cornel West, said a Fox TV source.
No reason was given for DuBose’s original scheduling of Farrakhan’s speech or his decision to cancel it.
The Farrakhan broadcast had been planned at a moment of widespread international protests of police brutality against Black people and other minorities. But it’s also a moment when attacks on Jewish people and institutions in the United States—including vandalism, violence, murders and other hate crimes—reached their “highest level… since tracking began in 1979,” according to the ADL’s Audit of Antisemitic Incidents for 2019.
“The audit found there were, on average, as many as six antisemitic incidents in the U.S. for each day in the calendar year–the highest level of antisemitic activity ever recorded by ADL,” the organization said.
Fox Soul’s nearly week-old tweets and Facebook posts promoting the Farrakhan broadcast were apparently taken down Monday after critics condemned the event on social media.