Fox star attempts to link idea Black slaves ‘benefiting’ from their situation and apply it to concentration camps
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A Fox host is facing criticism over statements he made about the Holocaust on “The Five.”
Greg Gutfeld’s remarks came during a discussion on the right-leaning commentary channel’s early evening panel show on Florida’s moves to have students studying Black history be taught that the skills enslaved people acquired could be viewed as benefiting themselves.
The standards have riled educational and social justice voices because it could be seen as an attempt to apply a positive spin on slavery.
Florida’s standards have been largely condemned by many, though this issue has become a flashpoint for conservative media. Some members of right-leaning networks have suggested the move is fair, citing it as a way to “balance” instructional theories such as critical race theory by teaching all sides of an issue.
Jessica Tarlov, the panel’s left-leaning member, noted that, as a Jewish woman, she could draw connections from Florida’s standards to the Holocaust, which saw the death of millions of Jewish people during World War II.
“I’m not Black, but I’m Jewish,” she noted. “Would someone say about the Holocaust, for instance, that there were some benefits for Jews? That while they were hanging out in concentration camps, they learned a strong work ethic? That maybe you learned a new skill?”
Gutfeld, who is right-leaning, brought up a book written by a Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, which has his observations about how to cope with suffering and find meaning in even the worse situations.
“Frankl talks about how you had to survive in a concentration camp by having skills. You had to be useful. Utility! Utility kept you alive!” Gutfeld said on air.
The comment sparked backlash almost immediately.
“Being skilled or useful did not spare (Jewish prisoners) from the horrors of the gas chambers,” said the Auschwitz Memorial in a statement.
The White House also condemned Gutfeld’s comments as a “dangerous” lie, further labeling it as “horrid” and “extreme,” pointing out that millions of people suffered under Nazi rule and its concentration camps.
The comment is the latest of numerous ones made on-air by various Fox hosts, mostly right-leaning, that could be deemed offensive by groups of people. The network has frequently spouted racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, homophobic, transphobic and xenophobic comments during both its commentary shows and reporting.
In many cases, the comments appear to serve as a way to stir up its right-leaning viewers and often there is little to no consequences for the talent who utter them. In some cases, the network does apologize or bench talent for offensive on-air comments.
Fox isn’t alone in having talent make brash on-air comments. The cable news business is largely based on trying to attract viewers and comments made on rivals including CNN and MSNBC have also been widely condemned, though these too have had varying degrees of response by network heads.