A Native American advocacy group has called on Fox News to fire three of the network’s commentators after they made derogatory statements about Native Americans and the recognition of Indigenous People’s Day.
“We strongly urge Fox News to take responsibility, and immediate action to address the blatant racism and discrimination driven by their hosts and contributors,” said the statement from IllumiNative, an organization dedicated to improving the visibility and media narratives of Native Americans. “There should not be a television network in the United States that allows people like Jesse Watters, Rachel Campos-Duffy, and Sean Duffy to disseminate hate and indoctrinate this country with racism and white supremacy.”
The statement was first reported Friday by The Daily Beast.
On The October 13 edition of Fox News Primetime, rotating host Jesse Watters claimed that a video address by Vice President Kamala Harris acknowledging the legacy of enslavement, genocide, and dispossession of Indigenous tribes was “kind of rubbing Columbus' nose in it the day after his, I guess, ex-holiday, whatever you want to call it.”
Fox News contributor Sean Duffy, a former congressman, said: “I had a lot of Native American tribes in my old district in Wisconsin. Good people, love them, but if we are going to look at the past, I mean, they burned villages, raped women, seized children, took their — took the people they defeated, took their lands, scalped people.”
Fox Nation host Rachel Campos-Duffy further commented: “The conditions from Native Americans have everything to do with government dependency, cycles of poverty and alcoholism, and family breakdowns. And these are things that the Democrats don't want to talk about.”
Watters added: “They are just going to try to send more slush funds to the reservations, and make them out to be victims, and then have them keep voting for Democrats.”
Watters also said this past July that America “wasn't stolen,” because “we won this land on the battlefield and we bought it.” After Fox News correspondent-at-large Geraldo Rivera pointed out the taking of the land from the Native American tribes, Watters replied: “Well, what about them, Geraldo? We won that territory on the battlefield. It was an ugly, brutal battle but we won it.”
The following is IllumiNative’s full statement, also provided to Media Matters:
We are enraged. On Wednesday, Fox News hosts Jesse Watters, Rachel Campos-Duffy, and former Congressman Sean Duffy spewed outrageously false and harmful statements about Native Americans - while on national television.
They claimed that our struggles have “everything to do with government dependency, cycles of poverty and alcoholism and family breakdowns.” That Democrats are, “just going to try to send more slush funds to the reservations, and make them out to be victims, and then have them keep voting for Democrats.” Let those abhorrent statements sit with you for a minute.
This rhetoric is incredibly harmful and dangerous and very clearly rooted in racism and white supremacy. Instead of allowing people to perpetuate revisionist history that erases the true history of this country - we need to start calling it what it was. Genocide. For so long, Americans have chosen to omit and forget us from history and the present day. They render us down to grossly inaccurate stereotypes to perpetuate the discrimination and oppression of Native Americans that begun with their “founding fathers”. But we know these are lies non-Natives tell themselves to feel better, even proud about the horrifying truth of this country -- and of their ancestors.
We strongly urge Fox News to take responsibility, and immediate action to address the blatant racism and discrimination driven by their hosts and contributors. There should not be a television network in the United States that allows people like Jesse Watters, Rachel Campos-Duffy, and Sean Duffy to disseminate hate and indoctrinate this country with racism and white supremacy.
Perhaps the most virulent anti-native voice on Fox News has been Tucker Carlson. In addition to his “cultural” and “economic” objections to immigration, and his defiant spreading of the “great replacement” conspiracy theory against nonwhite immigration, Fox’s lead prime-time host has also spent years railing against any recognition of this continent’s original inhabitants.
- In 2017, Carlson bemoaned the new recognition of Indigenous People’s Day in Alaska. “The message is ‘it would have been better if Europeans had never come here at all,’” Carlson said, adding: “There's more human freedom and happiness, far less human sacrifice and cannibalism. That's all an achievement. We ought to celebrate it, not mourn it, obviously.”
- In 2018, Carlson said that Indigenous People’s Day is a message to “ the rest of us” that “you don't have the right to defend yourself against our assault. You don't have the moral legitimacy to defend your own country.” He also questioned how the trend had spread to “normal places like Columbus, Ohio, which is a great town, actually, filled with normal people.”
- In 2019, Carlson’s monologues against Indigenous People’s Day bore an alarming resemblance to the online rantings of white supremacist leaders: