Fox News rolled out the welcome mat for a Dallas television host who went on a homophobic tirade after openly gay NFL player Michael Sam was shown kissing his boyfriend on ESPN.
Amy Kushnir made national headlines on May 13 after she walked off the set of The Broadcast, a Dallas, Texas morning show, following a heated discussion about the airing of Sam's kiss on ESPN. Kushnir, who co-hosts The Broadcast, argued that the kiss was being “pushed in faces” and objected to having her sons watch two men kiss. Kushnir also claimed she also opposed seeing heterosexual kissing on television, prompting skepticism from her co-hosts and eventually resulting in Kushnir walking off the set.
That display of homophobia was apparently enough to get Kushnir an exclusive interview on Fox's The Kelly File on May 16, where she told fill-in host Shannon Bream that the kiss between Sam and his boyfriend was “shocking” and “over-the-top”:
KUSHNIR: It was actually over-the-top. ESPN used it as an opportunity to put out shocking video when ESPN is a sports network that families watch. We've got children that play sports. They watch ESPN all the time. So it bothers me that they used this opportunity to promote their left-wing agenda, in my opinion.
Kushnir went on to lament that people with “traditional values” couldn't express their views without fear of getting “lambasted.” Bream wondered if Kushnir was concerned that she was no longer able to voice her opinion, even thought it was Kushnir who decided to walk off the set of her show.
During the May 16 edition of Hannity, Sean Hannity asked one of Kushnir's co-hosts if she would apologize to her and questioned whether a Dolphins' player's infamous criticism of Sam's kiss was actually homophobic.
But Kushnir's Fox News defense didn't end there. During the May 16 edition of America's Newsroom, radio host Lars Larson accused the gay community of showing a “lack of tolerance” for those who say “yuck” at the sight of two men kissing:
LARSON: Here's where the homosexuality community really shows there lack of tolerance. They've decided that if you say “yuck” to that, even though there are lots of things that people say “yuck” to, that you should be vilified and criticized.
LARSON: These days, if you don't openly endorse a gay man kissing another gay man on television you are going to be vilified, and that's not America.
At first glance, Kushnir's victimization story fits in with Fox's broader effort to depict the gay people as intolerant thugs, bullying those who merely condemn homosexuality. But at Fox, the "conservative victim" typically claims to be motivated by their (usually Christian) faith, with blatant homophobia being disguised as a sincerely held religious belief and LGBT equality depicted as an assault on religious liberty.
Not so in this case. Kushnir doesn't mention her faith when describing a same-sex kiss as “shocking.” Instead, she vaguely references her “traditional values,” which appears to be a euphemism for her disapproval of homosexuality. When Bream asks her if she also opposes risqué advertisements regularly shown on ESPN, Kushnir makes clear that her complaint is limited to the airing of the same-sex kiss. Though Kushnir claimed she would oppose any display of sexuality on television, she apparently had no problem being hoisted into a recent taping of her show on the shoulders of two shirtless erotic dancers.
Kushnir's position is motivated by homophobia, plain and simple. The fact that she was criticized for making anti-gay remarks on television doesn't make her a victim. But Fox has never been interested in championing real victims of intolerance or discrimination - the network is more concerned with excusing homophobia and trying to depict gay people as the real bullies. If you're a small-time homophobe and want a national platform to condemn the very people you're intolerant of, Fox News wants to hear from you.