Winter Olympics 2018: Fox News pulls column complaining about gay and black athletes
Fox News has removed a post by a senior executive complaining about the “embarrassing” number of gay and ethnic minority athletes in the US Olympics team.
John Moody who is Executive Editor and Executive Vice President of Fox News, made the incendiary comments in a post to the Fox News website yesterday, ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
Citing the US Olympic motto, which is ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’, he wrote: “It appears the U.S. Olympic Committee would like to change that to ‘Darker, Gayer, Different’.”
Moody explained he was upset about the focus on LGBT and African-American in the US team.
However, there are just two out gay men at the Winter Olympics this year – Gus Kenworthy and Adam Rippon – and less than ten percent of the 200-strong Winter Olympic team are from an ethnic minority.
He wrote: “A USOC official was quoted this week expressing pride (what else?) about taking the most diverse U.S. squad ever to the Winter Olympics.”
“That was followed by a, frankly, embarrassing laundry list of how many African-Americans, Asians and openly gay athletes are on this year’s U.S. team.
“No sport that we are aware of awards points – or medals – for skin color or sexual orientation.”
He adds: “Insisting that sports bow to political correctness by assigning teams quotas for race, religion or sexuality is like saying that professional basketball goals will be worth four points if achieved by a minority in that sport – white guys, for instance – instead of the two or three points awarded to black players, who make up 81 percent of the NBA.”
There is no quota system in place for the Winter Olympic team, and out Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy also qualified for the Olympics last time around – when he was in the closet.
Following outrage online, Fox News appears to have removed the post.
In a statement to PinkNews, a FOX News spokesperson said: “John Moody’s column does not reflect the views or values of FOX News and has been removed.”
According to Variety, the piece was not put “through the proper vetting process” prior to publication.
But given Moody’s senior position within Fox News and the say he has in his day-to-day output, it is unclear how the conservative media giant could distance itself from him.
It does not appear any action will be taken against Moody.
The exec joined Fox News in the 1990s, and was an integral figure in building up its output, alongside the company’s disgraced former chairman Roger Ailes.
Sarah Kate Ellis of GLAAD said in a statement: “The executive vice president of Fox News targeted some of our nation’s top athletes with vicious anti-LGBTQ and biased rhetoric at what should be the proudest moment of their lives,
“These athletes are at the Olympics because they already won by qualifying to represent the United States on the world’s stage; and they did so despite facing discrimination from places like Fox News throughout their careers.
“It’s not enough that the column has been removed. Moody should have the decency to apologize to the athletes and fans for this disgraceful post, and Fox News should open their site for diverse athletes to share their own personal stories and perspectives.”
Two gay US Olympians have been embroiled in a row with US Vice President Mike Pence ahead of the games.
Freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, who has been at the forefront of the US’s publicity campaign, said Pence’s presence would send a negative message due to his anti-LGBT record.
Speaking on The Ellen Show this week, Kenworthy called the Vice President a “bad fit” to lead the delegation.
And after gay figure skater Adam Rippon challenged the Vice President’s concerning stances on LGBT equality last month, Pence tweeted suggesting that the athlete had misled the public.
Earlier this week, Pence branded his anti-LGBT record “fake news”.
In tweets, he branded his record “fake news” and a “nonstory”.
He said: ““Headed to the Olympics to cheer on #TeamUSA. One reporter trying to distort 18 yr old nonstory to sow seeds of division. We won’t let that happen! #FAKENEWS. Our athletes are the best in the world and we are for ALL of them! #TEAMUSA”
Tweeting at Rippon he added: “I want you to know we are FOR YOU. Don’t let fake news distract you. I am proud of you and ALL OF OUR GREAT athletes and my only hope for you and all of #TeamUSA is to bring home the gold. Go get ‘em!”
But while Pence may be playing a moderate as a question mark dangles over the future of Trump’s Presidency, his extreme anti-LGBT record is far from made up.
A hardline evangelical who has not supported a single LGBT reform across nearly two decades in politics, VP Pence has one of the worst records on equality of any President or Vice President in recent memory.
Pence previously suggested that HIV prevention funding be drained in order to fund state-sponsored ‘gay cure’ therapy.
On a 2000 Congressional campaign website, he wrote: “Congress should support the reauthorization of the [HIV funding] Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organisations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviours that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behaviour.”
While serving as Governor of Indiana, Pence stirred up international outrage in 2015 when he signed Indiana’s controversial ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act’, giving businesses the right to discriminate against gay people on the grounds of religion.
Pence claimed the law was intended to “protect” organisations from having to provide services for same-sex weddings, saying: “I support the freedom of religion for every Hoosier [Indiana citizen] of every faith.
“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack.”
He appeared unable to answer when asked whether it should be legal to fire people because of their sexuality.
In a clip, Pence was asked: “Yes or no: do you believe gay and transgender people should be able to be fired from their jobs just for that reason only?”
After an awkward ten-second silence, Pence attempted to stall, responding: “It’s a great privilege to be your Governor.”
Fudging a response, he said: “My position as I expressed in the state of the State address is that we are a state with a constitution, and as you know… that constitution has very strong safeguards for freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.”
During the Presidential campaign, Pence backed plans to roll back Barack Obama’s executive protections on LGBT rights, so that “the transgender bathroom issue can be resolved with common sense at the local level”.
He said: “This is such an example of an administration that seems to have… there’s no area of our lives too small for them to want to regulate, no aspect of our constitution too large for them to ignore.
“Donald Trump and I both believe these questions can be resolved with common sense at the local level.”
“These issues are resolved in the state of Indiana whenever they come up, and they should be resolved, for the safety and well-being of our children first and foremost, their privacy and rights, and with common sense. Donald Trump and I simply believe all of these issues are best resolved at the state level, by communities.”
He added: “Washington has no business intruding on the operation of our local schools. It’s just one more example of the heavy hand of this administration, and Donald Trump and I will stand by that common-sense people that when it comes to our kids, and the operation of our schools, those decisions should be made at the local level.
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“Washington DC has no business imposing its bill and its values on communities around the nation.”
Decades of proof have not stopped Pence from attempting to rewrite his deeply anti-LGBT record, however.
He abruptly started denying his support for gay cure therapy in December 2016, one month before he was sworn in as Vice President – despite never once trying to correct public reports about his well-known views in the 16 years beforehand.
Pence is reported to be behind many of the anti-LGBT actions taken by the Trump administration, supporting Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ bid to roll back anti-discrimination protections for gay people.