Apparently in response to backlash, including from Jewish groups, the Fox “Soul” network announced on Monday that it will no longer air a speech on July 4 by National of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has an extensive history of making anti-Jewish remarks.
The Fox network launched Soul, a streaming service, in January in an effort to appeal to African-American viewers.
“On July 4th, at 7P EST / 4 PST Fox Soul will present a special program hosted by Dr. Sean featuring a complication of the most powerful speeches from the greatest black leaders and thinkers about racial relations and civil rights in America,” said Fox Soul in a statement shared on its Twitter account. “This powerful and inspirational program replaces the previously scheduled Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s ‘message to America.’ ”
— foxsoultv (@foxsoultv) June 29, 2020
A Fox spokesperson told JNS that the move was simply a “programming change” made on Monday after “a few” people contacted the network. The spokesperson declined to say who else contacted Fox.
None of Farrakhan’s speeches, such as the one at the 1995 Million Man March, will be featured, according to the Fox spokesperson, who noted that no final decisions have been made as to who will be featured in the July 4 special.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center and Americans Against Anti-Semitism slammed Fox Soul for initially announcing that it would air such a speech.
“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 decade, he has embraced America’s enemies from Libya’s [Moammar] Ghaddafi to Iran’s ayatollahs,” charged the Simon Wiesenthal Center in a statement.
“The African-American community is blessed with leaders in every field of endeavor from the arts, to business, to politics, to faith to media—anyone of whom can deliver an empowering and inclusive message of hope on July 4th. Farrakhan is a racist, anti-Semite—a demagogue and divider—at a time when all Americans need to hear messages of unity and hope, the values for which Martin Luther King Jr. lived and died for,” added the Wiesenthal Center, which called for Farrakhan’s speech to be canceled.
Former New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, founder of Americans Against Antisemitism, tweeted, “@AmericansAAcalls 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!”
.@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