LGBTQ Fox Corp. employees are calling out Fox News’ 'hateful' anti-gay rhetoric: report

LGBTQ Fox Corp. employees are calling out Fox News’ 'hateful' anti-gay rhetoric: report

Ever since their formation in 1977, the Log Cabin Republicans have been arguing that gay and lesbian rights should have a place in the conservative movement. The problem is that the homophobic Christian right’s stranglehold on the Republican Party never goes away, and far-right white evangelicals have way more influence on the GOP and the right-wing media than the small minority of moderate Republicans who favor pro-LQBTQ policies. And in 2022, some gay employees of Fox Corporation are speaking out against all of the homophobic and transphobic comments that have been coming from Fox News.

According to the Daily Beast’s Justin Baragona, all of the “overtly anti-LGBTQ rhetoric” that has been coming from Fox News during discussions of Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law has “generated outrage from elsewhere within the Murdoch media empire.”

“An employee networking and resource group for Fox Corporation’s LGBTQ staffers and allies, earlier this month, condemned the conservative cable giant’s ‘hateful’ coverage of the new Florida law and issues surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity,” Baragona explains in an article published on April 21. “The denunciation was in response to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) removing Fox Corp’s status as a preferred LGBTQ employer over its recent on-air rhetoric.”

Far-right Fox News host Laura Ingraham, for example, has been called out for the homophobic comments she has been making in defense of the “Don’t Say Gay” law. Disney has come out against the law, and Ingraham, in a March 30 diatribe, accused Disney of “grooming” children.

Ingraham accused Disney of “pushing a sexual agenda on little children across their entertainment platforms,” adding, “This is propaganda for grooming.”

In a message posted on a company-wide Slack channel on April 5, pro-LGBTQ staffers at Fox Corp wrote, “Fox Pride denounces statements made regarding sexual orientation and gender identity on FOX News in the past week…. While the internal support and resources Fox Corp. offers to LGBTQ+ employees are amazing and supportive, the public facing messaging and rhetoric is the opposite. We find it disheartening and a step backward in the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community.”

That internal Slack message, Baragona notes, was “first reported by” FTV Live and “was verified and reviewed by The Daily Beast” — and that Slack channel “includes staffers from Fox News, Fox Weather, and other Fox brands.” The message, according to Baragona, “received dozens of positive emoji reactions from Fox-wide Slack users, including hearts and various pride flags.”

The message also read, “FOX News is one of the most watched cable networks in the nation and we must be mindful that the impact these words have on the LGBTQ+ community — especially youth. LGBTQ+ youth have the highest rate of suicide and words matter. Hateful words and generalizations about sexual orientation and gender identity have a direct impact on people’s lives. We are working to address and make sure our voices are heard.”

The type of “groomer” rhetoric that has been coming from so many MAGA Republicans, far-right White evangelicals and right-wing media outlets in response to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill is nothing new. For many years, homophobic extremists have been claiming that gay men and lesbians are predators who want to indoctrinate children into “the gay lifestyle.” And when Ingraham talks about “grooming,” her message isn’t subtle: gays are predators, and they’re coming for your children.

Baragona observes, “Starting last month, after Disney spoke out against the vaguely worded Florida bill banning discussion of sexuality and gender in school classrooms, Fox News hosts and commentators began melting down on air with a deceptive smear campaign targeting the Mouse House’s support for the LGBTQ community.”

Baragona also notes that the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has removed Fox Corp. from its list of preferred LGBTQ employers because of the anti-gay rhetoric coming from Fox News.

Aryn Fields, HRC’s senior press secretary, complained, “Fox News has a history of sharing misinformation and disinformation about the LGBTQ+ community. We know from our own research, which we put out earlier this week, what their disinformation and misinformation means for the LGBTQ+ community: perpetuating stigma and marginalization of transgender and non-binary people. We can no longer allow Fox Corporation to maintain its score if Fox News personalities and contributors continue to deny the existence of transgender people, minimize the violence transgender individuals face, refer to parents of LGBTQ+ youth as perverts, or equate leaders of LGBTQ+ diversity and inclusion efforts with sex offenders…. Enough is enough.”

A Daily Beast source described by Baragona as a “Fox insider” and interviewed on condition of anonymity told the Beast that many LGBTQ employees are “very outraged” by the homophobia coming from some Fox News pundits.

“The thing is, internally, the company values diversity,” that insider told the Beast. “They invest in it and foster it from a management perspective. The on-air Fox News product, however, spits in the face of it. The employees are getting sick of it.”

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