Fox News on Friday was forced to remove an opinion column written by the network’s vice president and executive editor John Moody after critics called it “racist and homophobic.”
“John Moody’s column does not reflect the views or values of FOX News and has been removed,” the network said in a statement to Business Insider on Friday.
In the piece, called “In Olympics let’s focus on winner race – not race winner,” Moody suggested that US athletes were selected based on their race or sexual orientation, rather than merit.
“Unless it’s changed overnight,” wrote Moody in an opinion column on the Fox News website that posted Thursday, “the motto of the Olympics, since 1894, has been ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger.’”
“It appears the U.S. Olympic Committee,” continued Moody, “would like to change that to ‘Darker, Gayer, Different.’ If your goal is to win medals, that won’t work.”
Moody was reacting to an article in the Washington Post in which a USOC executive talked about how proud he was that the 2018 delegation is so diverse.
“John Moody’s column does not reflect the views or values of FOX News and has been removed,” the network said in a statement, according to Business Insider.
Moody, who regularly writes opinion pieces for Fox, is one of the network’s longest-serving executives and formerly directed editorial content under the late Fox News chairman Roger Ailes.
Critics, including prominent gay rights organizations, spoke out as the column circulated online.
“These athletes are at the Olympics because they already won by qualifying to represent the United States on the world’s stage; and they did so despite facing discrimination from places like Fox News throughout their careers,” Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, told the Hollywood Reporter. “Moody should not only apologize to the athletes and fans for this disgraceful post, but Fox News should open their site for diverse athletes to share their own personal stories and perspectives.”
Catherine Sakimura, deputy director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, called the column “racist and homophobic.”
Some journalists were outraged and upset over what was perceived correctly to be an anti-black, anti-gay tirade that wasn’t even based on facts, and took to Twitter to join in the critique.
“Oh, hey, it’s the executive editor and executive vice president of Fox News saying the United States should embarrassed by the diversity of its Olympic athletes,” Washingtonian writer Ben Freed tweeted.
In response to Fox’s distancing from Moody, New York Times TV critic James Poniewozik tweeted, “Only a few people have had more to do with the views and values of Fox News than John Moody.”
“As the world celebrates the peaceful global festival” at Pyeongchang,” commented Tom Harrington, a host on the Canadian Broadcasting Company, a “gold medal for tone deafness” should be awarded to Moody.”
Dave Holmes, editor at large for Esquire.com, called it, “The dumbest thing” he had read “in ages.”
On Deadspin, Laura Wagner mocked Moody, finishing by saying that he invokes “Jackie Robinson, Jeremy Lin and the 1993 Jamaican bobsled team in the service of making his point, which I guess is supposed to be that he’s a real piece of shit.”
Fox New's executive Vice President goes after United States Olympic Committee for touting the diversity of its athletes. Muses that the USOC's new motto is "Darker, Gayer, Different."https://t.co/bJGa76kSzk
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) February 8, 2018
“Here is how a Politico reporter put it in perspective:
This is the real lede of a real column by the executive editor of Fox News. Its transformation into a profitable version of Breitbart appears complete. https://t.co/ls3fc5REJu pic.twitter.com/vHSUHSqEXy
— Matthew Nussbaum (@MatthewNussbaum) February 9, 2018
There was no immediate comment from Moody, but earlier today the column suddenly disappeared from the Fox News website without any explanation.
A spokesperson for Fox News responded to the media requests for comment by saying that Moody’s commentary did “not reflect the views or values” of the company.
The fact that Fox News was so embarrassed that it yanked Moody’s inflammatory column is a good sign, and it would be an even better direction of how the wind is blowing if they pulled him from his executive post altogether.
However, as the network of Trump, after years of hatred-filled rhetoric and serving the regressive views of bigoted politicians, and making a fortune doing it, that probably is too much to ask.