Fox Soul, Fox TV’s streaming service targeted to black viewers, has canceled a Fourth of July program that was set to feature Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
The new network had planned to air a “Message to America” from Nation of Islam leader Farrakhan, who has been widely criticized for anti-Semitic and racist statements. Farrakhan was scheduled to deliver his remarks — dubbed “The Criterion: An Announcement to the World” — at 11 a.m. EDT on America’s birthday.
Among other widely reported comments, Farrakhan compared Jews to termites and defended the use of the phrase “death to America” on a visit to Iran in 2018.
Former New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Democrat and founder of Americans Against Antisemitism, called on Fox Soul to cancel the program.
“@AmericansAA calls upon @FOXTV to immediately cancel the planned JULY 4 broadcast of Dishonorable Minister of Hate @LouisFarrakhan on @foxsoultv@splcenter considers the Nation of Islam to be an extremist hate group. So why amplify this hateful voice?!#CancelFarrakhanNow!” he wrote.
.@AmericansAA calls upon @FOXTV to immediately cancel the planned JULY 4 broadcast of Dishonorable Minister of Hate @LouisFarrakhan on @foxsoultv@splcenter considers the Nation of Islam to be an extremist hate group. So why amplify this hateful voice?!#CancelFarrakhanNow! pic.twitter.com/FJo632h4cR
— Dov Hikind (@HikindDov) June 28, 2020
Others also blasted the network for giving Farrakhan a platform.
“Since the 1980s, Louis Farrakhan has denigrated the Jewish people, Judaism and the Jewish state, members of the LGBT community, the United States of America, and entertainment leaders from Hollywood. Throughout those decades, he has embraced America’s enemies from Libya’s Ghaddafi to Iran’s Ayatollahs,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and global director of social action for the leading Jewish human rights NGO, according to the Jerusalem Post.
The cancellation also came after Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt and CNN anchor Jake Tapper “slammed plans for a live broadcast of Farrakhan’s speech,” the Daily Beast reported.
“Louis Farrakhan, a notorious #antisemite & #homophobe, inexplicably continues to get airtime,” Greenblatt wrote on Twitter, also posting the promotional Fox Soul graphic touting the Farrakhan broadcast.
“He has called Jews ‘termites’ and the #LGBTQ+ community ‘degenerates.’ He deserves condemnation, not exposure,” Greenblatt added, slamming the streaming service that the Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch-controlled Fox Corp. launched in January to appeal to an African-American viewership.
Tapper wrote on Twitter that “Farrakhan is a vile anti-LGBTQ anti-Semitic misogynist. Why is a Fox channel airing his propaganda?”
That comment drew a strong response from rapper and actor Ice Cube, whose real name is O’Shea Jackson. “Watch your mouth Jake,” the 51-year-old tweeted at Tapper.
Watch your mouth Jake. https://t.co/DqTOr24Yb6
— Ice Cube (@icecube) June 29, 2020
Said the Beast:
As outrage mounted, Fox Soul’s head of programming, James DuBose, dropped the Farrakhan speech and instead made plans to air a compilation of inspirational speeches about racial relations from “the greatest Black leaders and thinkers,” according to a release posted on Twitter.
— foxsoultv (@foxsoultv) June 29, 2020
“This powerful and inspirational program replaces the previously scheduled Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s ‘Message to America,'” the statement says.
Fox Soul, which was launched in January, intends to be “a new live and interactive streaming channel dedicated to the African American viewer.”
“The programs aim to celebrate black culture and deal with real topics that impact the everyday lives of the black community through frank and insightful dialogue with local and national influencers,” its website says.
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