Fox News host who joked about Neely protesters set to take turn in Carlson slot

Written by on May 8, 2023

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A Fox News host who recently mocked those protesting Jordan Neely’s subway death is trying her hand at Tucker Carlson’s high-profile timeslot.

According to Deadline, Kayleigh McEnany, a former press secretary and Trump 2020 spokesperson, is doing a trial run this week, beginning Monday.

“I am honored to share that I will be hosting Fox News Tonight on Fox News at 8 p.m. ET all next week (5/8-5/12)! Set your DVR,” McEnany tweeted Thursday afternoon. She asked that followers join her “as we dig into the state of politics, media, culture, and faith in America.”

Kayleigh McEnany
Kayleigh McEnany, a Fox News host and former White House press secretary, will be in the 8 p.m. timeslot this week as the network rotates duties after the ouster of Tucker Carlson. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

McEnany appeared to evoke racist stereotypes to mock protesters who had recently taken to the streets of New York City to voice their outrage over the May 2 death of Jordan Neely, a Black homeless man, The Independent reported.

Witnesses said that 24-year-old Daniel J. Penny, a white Marine veteran, choked Neely for approximately 15 minutes on Manhattan’s F train. The city medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.

On Friday, after playing a video of protesters yelling, “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now,” and other phrases to the beat of a drum, McEnany smiled and remarked, “Well, at least they have rhythm,” to the amusement of her “Outnumbered” cohosts.

The Fox host also criticized those who have “already made up their minds” about the killing.

Neely, a 30-year-old man with a reputation for pulling off Michael Jackson impersonations, allegedly entered the train while shouting about being thirsty, hungry and exhausted.

The incident has created a contentious debate in the city. Some people asserted that media outlets and local politicians have unfairly held Neely responsible for his death at the hands of a vigilante.

Media Matters for America analyst Kat Abughazaleh claimed that McEnany’s language “mocks Black people protesting the killing of Jordan Neely.” 

However, the anchor indicated in a statement through a network representative that she didn’t know the demonstrators’ race and hadn’t seen the video being broadcast on air when she commented.

According to the Los Angeles Times, many claimed that McEnany’s remark demonstrated her willingness to appeal to the MAGA portion of Carlson’s audience, which has been leaving in large numbers since he was terminated late last month.

Fox experienced decreases throughout primetime following the firing, losing over half of the 3 million plus people who typically watched during the hour.

Nielsen reported that the network continues to have the highest cable news viewership, outpacing MSNBC and CNN.

While at the White House, McEnany developed a reputation for perpetuating Trump’s falsehoods from the briefing room, the L.A. Times reported.

During a news conference on Nov. 9, 2020, Fox even cut away from her when she reiterated Trump’s false allegations of voter fraud in the race he lost to Joe Biden. The network subsequently paid Dominion Voting Systems a record-breaking $787.5 million defamation settlement.

Fox hired McEnany — the third on-air talent to get a tryout in Carlson’s place — in March 2021. The network is looking to replace Carlson, who was fired on April 24 following revelations that he made racist remarks, promoted a plot involving the uprising on Jan. 6, 2021, and sent texts criticizing Fox correspondents who fact-checked the unfounded election fraud claims on the network.

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