After The Daily Signal published Fox News’ employee handbook with language deemed inclusive of trans employees in compliance with anti-discrimination laws, right-wing media has boiled over with accusations of Fox News going “woke,” despite the network's inflammatory and dangerous coverage of trans issues.
On May 22, Heritage Foundation’s blog The Daily Signal published an article detailing policies in Fox News’ employee handbook related to gender identity. The handbook, which is dated January 2021, permits employees to use bathrooms according to their stated gender and instructs employees to address trans colleagues by their “preferred name and pronouns.” The Daily Signal goes on to criticize Fox News for using “activist language” like gender affirming care, and for a segment accurately noting concerns about suicide among trans youth prevented from transitioning. It also notes that former Fox host Tucker Carlson’s team had to “fight” to use “he/him” pronouns for trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney, citing a former producer from the show (Mulvaney uses “she” and “they” pronouns).
Fox News has since issued a statement regarding its policies, claiming that, “FOX News Media is compliant with all Human Rights laws mandated by the cities and states in which we operate, including New York and California.” Other right-wing media outlets who operate in states like New York, like Newsmax who has been criticizing Fox for the policies, would also have to apply the same rules to their employees unless they are willfully breaking the law.
Despite the right-wing outrage that has followed the revelation that Fox News is legally required to provide trans employees with a respectful, harassment-free workplace, the network has consistently set the tone for dangerous fearmongering about trans people. At a time when anti-LGBTQ hate has reached feverish heights, Fox News has obsessively targeted individual trans people and the group writ large, falsely claiming that they are the product of a “social contagion” and harassing trans athletes. The network’s inflammatory coverage has also inspired violence, as in the case of a transgender teacher in California who began to receive bomb and death threats after Fox News published five articles about their curriculum.
Right-wing media’s unhinged anger at Fox’s employee policies discounts the vile way Fox News covers trans people and other LGBTQ issues. Similarly, right-wing media connecting Tucker Carlson’s firing to Fox News’ allegedly “woke” trans employee policies obfuscates the more likely reasons for his ousting, such as his racist texts and involvement in the costly Dominion lawsuit.
Right-wing media accuse Fox of being “woke,” pushing “trans ideology”
- Anti-trans extremist Matt Walsh tweeted, “As @MaryMargOlohan reports for the Daily Signal, Fox News is fully woke on trans ideology. I‘ve been personally blacklisted from appearing on the network because of my stance on the issue. This is confirmed by DS and I’ve heard it off the record from Fox producers.” In the following thread, he added, “Fox needs to get the full Bud Light treatment. They are actively working to suppress conservative voices while promoting leftism in its most radical form. Enough is enough.”
- Rob Bluey, executive editor of the Daily Signal, tweeted, “📢 A leaked @FoxNews corporate policy on gender identity reveals surprisingly woke options for staff: ➡️ Bathrooms aligning with gender identity ➡️ Dress according to preferred gender ➡️ Use of preferred name and pronouns ➡️ ‘Workplace Transition Plan.’”
- Heritage Foundation fellow Delano Squires tweeted, “Great investigative work by my @Heritage colleague @MaryMargOlohan. I knew Fox was completely compromised when they ran the puff piece on the teen who ‘transitioned’ at 5 that included the left's go-to emotional blackmail move: ‘I'd rather have a living son than a dead daughter.’"
- Right-wing troll account Catturd retweeted Mary Margaret Olohan’s post about the story, adding, “Woke Fox News busted.”
- The Daily Caller’s Geoffrey Ingersoll claimed, “I personally know several employees, some very senior, who hate their local style going along with far left activists and their propaganda terms. Good on @MaryMargOlohan sussing this out.”
- The Federalist’s Eddie Scarry tweeted, “To report this is to essentially forego future Fox News appearances. What does that tell you about how right-wingers feel about Fox at the moment?”
- Gateway Pundit published an article alleging that “pronouns in the office inside Fox News must be adhered to by employees of the network whose success, ironically, has been due in large part to their commitment to standing up to the Left’s Marxist ideology.” The article continues, “The revelations come amid conservative consternation at Fox Digital’s use of activist language like ‘gender-affirming care’ in stories on its website, as well as the site’s consistent use of female pronouns for biological males like TikTok celebrity Dylan Mulvaney.”
- Trending Politics claimed that the leaked handbook reveals Fox’s “woke stances on key issues,” despite acknowledging later in the article that Fox “is required under local laws to allow its employees access to choose restrooms ‘that most closely align with their gender, regardless of their gender expression, sex assigned at birth, anatomy, medical history, or the sex or gender indicated on their identification.’”
- The Post Millennial published a report alleging that Fox is enforcing “trans ideology” and “woke culture.” It goes on to claim that “Fox is obsessed with its pro-LGBTQ score doled out by trans lobbyist not-for-profit the Human Rights Campaign, which went hard trans after the legalization of gay marriage in 2015. Fox touts that score in employee trainings, gives employees the option to use preferred pronouns and to transition at work, making others comply with the new speech requirements that come with it. Women's bathrooms at Fox are open to men who identify as women.”
- Daily Caller published a report titled “Leaked Fox News Handbook Accommodates Gender Identity, Transitions, Pronouns.” The report alleges that “the outlet has used female pronouns to refer to men who identify as women, referred to irreversible sex changes as ‘gender affirming care,’ and even aired a segment highlighting a transgender teenager in June 2022.”
- Conservative Brief argued in an online article that the “leaked policy memo indicates the corporate management of the network has adopted a full-on ‘woke’ stance regarding gender identity.”
- Newsmax wrote that the Daily Signal report shows how “Fox News has been imposing ‘wokeness’ in its ranks for at least two years.”
- Newsmax host Chris Salcedo spoke about the report on his show, claiming, “All of this comes as the Daily Signal is reporting that a leaked policy shows that Fox News is pushing anti-science woke ideology by allowing employees to use the bathrooms that align with their gender identity rather than their biological sex, meaning men are allowed to go into the ladies' room over at Fox. Yikes”
Some right-wing outlets went so far as to claim that Fox News is choosing “wokeness” and trans rights over Tucker Carlson
- Newsmax host Eric Bolling joked, “So what, are they putting Bud Light in the water fountains over at Fox News? It certainly looks like Fox’s transition to wokism is complete. And it's clear now that the firing of truth-teller Tucker Carlson was just the tip of the woke iceberg.” He continued, “The Signal has obtained Fox News’ employee manual. It's a shocker. It celebrates the trans agenda. … Behind the scenes, Fox News apparently makes their staff and talent observe the woke practices that their on-air screen talent sometimes claim to hate. What a betrayal of their audience.”
- Right-wing commentator Dan O’Donnell appeared on Newsmax and told hosts John Bachman and Bianca de la Garza, “Well, I think I figured out how Tucker Carlson can get back on the air at Fox News. He can just identify as Laura Ingraham because this is apparently what they're doing now.” He then argued that “Fox News was always seen as a haven away from the wokeness of the rest of the corporate press, and this Daily Signal report is really indicative of the direction that Fox was going even before they got rid of Tucker Carlson.”
- Rob Schmitt bemoaned Fox’s supposed left-ward shift on his Newsmax show, saying, “According to the Daily Signal, Fox News employees are allowed to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity inside the building, rather than their biological sex. And they must be addressed by their preferred name and pronouns in the workplace. …. You’re starting to kind of get a feeling here about maybe why Tucker was fired and how it's changing over at Fox, the brand we've known for so long.”
- In his Twitter thread promoting the story, Matt Walsh claimed, “Tucker fought behind the scenes against my blacklisting, and even managed to have me on a few times over the past year. But now that he’s gone, there’s no stopping Fox’s march leftward. And now there is zero daylight between Fox and MSNBC on the trans issue.”