Fox News’ Emily Compagno draws backlash after racist comment about pregnant Kenyan women
The conservative host said pregnant women in Kenya can’t leave the house to vote. Kenyans say she has no idea what she’s talking about.
Kenyans are criticizing Fox News host Emily Compagno after she claimed, incorrectly, that pregnant women in their country can’t leave the house to vote. Compagno made the remark on Fox News’ Gutfeld!, the network’s would-be comedy show, though it was clear she was not joking at the time.
In a panel discussion about U.S. celebrities commenting on politics, Compagno said it was “totally delusional” to talk about women not having rights in the United States, especially in comparison with other countries. “What about in Kenya where pregnant women can’t leave the house so they absolutely have no constructive right to vote,” Compagno said.
Kenyans responded swiftly, demanding a correction and apology from Compagno; Greg Gutfeld, the show’s host and namesake; and Fox News.
“According to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), pregnant women, the disabled, and the elderly are given special consideration during the voting process,” wrote Geoffrey Lutta at Kenyans.co.ke. “IEBC - which is led by Wafula Chebukati - accords them a right to vote without queuing like the rest of Kenyans.”
That point was echoed across African media outlets and shared by many Kenyans reacting to the segment, using the hashtags “#SomeoneTellFoxNews” and “#SomeoneTellEmilyCompagno.”
Several Kenyans responded by dryly wondering if there was another Kenya that Compagno might be referring to.
Compagno has a history of making offensive remarks, including referring to unhoused people as “zombies” and later blaming them for the early spread of COVID-19.
Had Compagno done even cursory research into the subject before making her off-hand remark, she may have discovered that in 2017, a Kenyan woman actually gave birth while waiting in line to vote.
“Having given birth at a polling station is a blessing to me and I thank God,” Paulina Chemanang told local radio station Capital FM, according to Agence France-Presse.
No word on whether the producers of Gutfeld! will invite Chemanang on the program to tell her story. Given the network’s history of making racist comments about Africa and Africans, it seems unlikely.