Yesterday, the cast of pundits on Fox News’ Fox & Friends joked about professional football player Ray Rice’s beating of his then-girlfriend and now wife Janay Palmer. Such harrowing violence, now widely seen on a released video, would not seem to be a subject fit for jokes. However, when the hosts of Fox & Friends referenced their remarks again today, they didn’t apologize for them. Instead, they tried to defend themselves from criticism by saying how seriously they take domestic abuse.
Rice’s contract with the Baltimore Ravens was ended yesterday after TMZ released a video of Rice knocking out Palmer in an elevator and then dragging her body out of the elevator. The National Football League indefinitely suspended him. Rice had previously been suspended for two games over the domestic abuse, but once the full video went public yesterday, the NFL and Ravens beefed up their punishment.
When discussing the video yesterday, Fox & Friends’ co-host Brian Kilmeade said, “I think the message is, take the stairs.” Co-host Steve Doocy then said, “The message is, when you’re in an elevator, there’s a camera.” See below the video of the segment. They both got a big chuckle out of their repartee.
After criticism by news outlets and tweeters, Fox News told the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple that the hosts would talk about their comments today, suggesting an apology was forthcoming. See below tweets about the segment.
Today, Fox & Friends’ Kilmeade briefly commented about the issue, but didn’t apologize.
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He said, “Comments that we made during this story yesterday made some feel like we were taking this story too lightly. We are not. we were not. Domestic abuse is a very serious issue to us. I can assure you.”
There was no evidence presented that supported their claims that they take domestic violence seriously other than just saying so.
See below video of the comments.
Fox News only used 13 seconds to weigh in on its bad taste, The Huffington Post noted.
Further, The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple pointed out that Fox News also didn’t apologize or admit error in its statement.
iMediaEthics has asked Fox News why it didn’t apologize for the remarks.
ESPN suspended host Max Kellerman briefly last month after his comments about Ray Rice. He had commented that he had slapped his girlfriend years ago while they were drinking. ESPN also suspended Stephen A. Smith for a week after suggesting women provoke abuse when discussing Rice.