Fox News on Friday removed an inflammatory op-ed written about the 2018 Winter Games by a network executive after it attracted widespread criticism, with a spokesperson telling media outlets in a statement that the piece of commentary did “not reflect the views or values” of the company.
John Moody, executive vice president and executive editor of Fox News, ignited controversy when he skewered the US Olympic Committee in a Wednesday opinion piece titled, “In Olympics, let’s focus on the winner of the race — not the race of the winner.”
“Unless it’s changed overnight, the motto of the Olympics, since 1894, has been ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger,'” Moody wrote. “It appears the U.S. Olympic Committee would like to change that to ‘Darker, Gayer, Different.’ If your goal is to win medals, that won’t work.”
Moody went on to deride the US Olympic Committee for boasting about how this year’s team was “the most diverse” ever sent to the Winter Olympics.
“That was followed by a, frankly, embarrassing laundry list of how many African-Americans, Asians and openly gay athletes are on this year’s U.S. team,” Moody wrote. “No sport that we are aware of awards points — or medals — for skin color or sexual orientation.”
The column started to first attract widespread attention on Thursday. By Friday morning, it had ballooned, and Moody faced a firestorm of criticism.
Dave Holmes, editor at large at Esquire.com, called it “the dumbest thing” he’d read “in ages.” Deadspin’s Laura Wagner mocked him in a piece she wrote. And MSNBC host Chris Hayes tweeted, “Fox New’s executive Vice President goes after United States Olympic Committee for touting the diversity of its athletes.”
Others also chimed in.
“This is the real lede of a real column by the executive editor of Fox News,” tweeted Matthew Nassbaum, a White House reporter at Politico. “Its transformation into a profitable version of Breitbart appears complete.”
Tom Harrington, a CBC host, said “as the world celebrates the peaceful global festival” at Pyeonchang, a “gold medal for tone deafness” should be awarded to Moody.
“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,” added Benjamin Freed of the Washingtonian.
Neither Moody nor a spokesperson for Fox News immediately responded to a request for comment.
After the story was pulled, Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of the LGBTQ organization GLAAD, said in a statement that Moody “targeted some of our nation’s top athletes with vicious anti-LGBTQ and biased rhetoric” and said removing the post was not enough. She called on Moody to issue an apology.
“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,” Ellis said. “It’s not enough that the column has been removed. Moody should have the decency to apologize to the athletes and fans for this disgraceful post, and Fox News should open their site for diverse athletes to share their own personal stories and perspectives.”
Moody regularly writes columns for Fox News, often offering a conservative take on the news of the day. Last month he wrote a column aimed at the Me Too movement, titled, “Hey, #MeToo: Isn’t female genital mutilation the cruelest cut.”