Fox News has apologised after a guest pundit made ‘disgraceful’ comments about environmental activist Greta Thunberg.
American conservative political commentator Michael Knowles dismissively referred to Thunberg as a ‘mentally ill Swedish child’, leading to an outraged reaction from fellow pundit Chris Hahn.
Climate change movement sceptic Knowles made these remarks following Thunberg’s powerful speech to world leaders at the 2019 UN climate action summit in New York; claiming she was ‘being exploited by her parents and the international left’.
You can watch the heated discussion for yourself in the following clip:
The comments were made in response to a conversation about meatless diets, which Knowles argued were actually worse for the environment than ‘meat filled’ diets.
Speaking during a segment on the Fox News programme The Story, the podcast host and writer steered the conversation from vegetarianism to the supposed ‘exploitation’ of Thunberg:
The climate hysteria movement is not about science. If it were about science, it would be led by scientists, rather than by politicians and a mentally ill Swedish child who is being exploited by her parents and by the international left.
In response to this, Hahn could be audibly heard to say ‘how dare you’, before demanding Knowles apologise to Thunberg:
Relax, skinny boy I’ve got this. You’re attacking a child, you’re a grown man. Have some couth.
Maybe on your podcast you get away and say whatever you want because nobody’s listening. You’re on national television. Be a grown-up when you’re talking about children.
She’s trying to save the planet because your president doesn’t believe in climate change. And kids need to take to the streets to worry about their future. You are despicable for speaking about her like that, and you should apologise on national television, right now.
Knowles did not apologise and instead replied:
She is mentally ill. She has autism. She has obsessive compulsive disorder, she has selective mutism. She had depression.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, a Fox News spokesperson said the network currently has ‘no plans’ to book Knowles as a guest on the show again.
In a statement made to The Hollywood Reporter, the spokesperson said:
The comment made by Michael Knowles who was a guest on The Story tonight was disgraceful — we apologize to Greta Thunberg and to our viewers.
Unfortunately, this has not been the only time in recent days Thunberg has been insulted on the Fox News network.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham faced backlash after describing Thunberg’s UN speech as ‘chilling’; likening the teenage activist to a character from 1984 horror movie Children of the Corn.
Showing an image of one of the murderous child characters, Ingraham said:
I can’t wait for Stephen King’s sequel, Children of the Climate.
Ingraham’s own brother, Curtis Ingraham, later criticised his sister via Twitter, describing her cruel remarks as ‘monstrous’:
Clearly my sister’s paycheck is more important than the world her three adopted kids will inherit. I can no longer apologize for a sibling who I no longer recognize.
I can and will continue to call out the monstrous behavior and the bully commentary born out of anger.
Clearly my sister’s paycheck is more important than the world her three adopted kids will inherit. I can no longer apologize for a sibling who I no longer recognize. I can and will continue to call out the monstrous behavior and the bully commentary born out of anger. https://t.co/afrSuraQqt
— Curtis Ingraham (@CurtisIngraham1) September 24, 2019
Even US President Donald Trump has seen fit to mock Thunberg, making the following sarcasm laden tweet:
She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!
As reported by the Irish Independent, Prime Minister of Ireland Leo Varadkar has spoken out in defence of Thunberg, criticising President Trump for being so disparaging:
I think she’s a really passionate person who has inspired young people across the world.
I know sometimes people are critical of her but the bottom line is, she’s a 16-year-old girl who’s trying to make the world a better place and why would you want to slag her off?
She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see! https://t.co/1tQG6QcVKO
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
If you’re experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you. They’re open from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58, and they also have a webchat service if you’re not comfortable talking on the phone.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.