On the first day of LGBTQ Pride Month, Fox News hosts, contributors, and guests attacked transgender Americans by disparaging trans student-athlete Lia Thomas, attacking policies designed to help trans people, and opposing the very idea of trans children.
While Fox has tried to signal its support for Pride in the past, its own employees and at least one advocacy group have called out the channel for its failures on LGBTQ issues, recently taking action against its hateful programming. Vanity Fair reported in April that an internal resource group for LGBTQ Fox employees called Fox Pride had condemned the network’s “hateful” anti-LGBTQ coverage in a message posted to a company-wide Slack channel. The statement pointed to a contrast between Fox’s internal support for LGBTQ employees and its personalities’ public comments attacking the LGBTQ community. And earlier in April, CNN reported that the Human Rights Campaign “stripped Fox Corporation of its status as a preferred LGBTQ friendly employer and released a blistering statement condemning the network for its recent coverage of the LGBTQ community.”
Fox has quite a record of stoking hate against transgender Americans in general, and Thomas in particular. The right-wing cable channel floods its programs with smears, lies, and other attacks and misinformation about trans people, in one instance amassing nearly 200 such segments in just a few weeks. Fox’s June 1 segments attacking trans people continued this trend.
- On America's Newsroom, guest Michael Shellenberger, who is running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in California, attacked the San Francisco mayor’s plan to end homelessness for transgender residents. He claimed such a plan would be illegal and ridiculed it as something worthy of satire. (Trans Americans are twice as likely to live in poverty as the national average, and homelessness has affected one in five trans people.)
- On The Ingraham Angle, host Laura Ingraham likened children changing their gender identity to “sexual exploration … in very young children” while interviewing a school counselor who expressed opposition to the existence of trans children.
- While discussing Thomas on America's Newsroom, Fox News Radio host Jimmy Failla referred to trans women athletes as “men competing in women’s sports.”
- America Reports co-anchor John Roberts misgendered Thomas as a transgender man.
- On Fox & Friends First, guest Alexa Schwerha repeatedly misgendered Thomas while co-host Todd Piro called her “completely selfish” for playing sports.
- On Hannity, contributor Tammy Bruce accused Thomas of “selfishness,” “self-indulgence,” and “malignant narcissism” for playing sports after she began her transition.
- Fox & Friends guest co-host Will Cain also argued that Thomas was being selfish: “Is there not an inherent selfishness in placing your own happiness over a generalized fairness?”
Fox’s June 1 attacks on trans people are just one part of the network’s troubling pattern of smears.
Earlier this year, Fox aired 170 segments discussing trans people in just three weeks. Much of this coverage spread dangerous lies about the trans community and repeatedly invoked the long-debunked myth that trans people pose a threat to minors and seek to groom them. And Fox’s previous coverage vilifying Thomas included deadnaming her and even more misgendering of her.
Fox’s coverage during the very first day of Pride Month shows the network has no plan to stop spreading hate.