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Fox News "Strongly" Condemns Host Jeanine Pirro's Comments About Muslim Congresswoman

The Hollywood Reporter logo The Hollywood Reporter 3/11/2019 Jeremy Barr

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Video by The Washington Post

In a rare rebuke of a high-profile host, Fox News on Sunday night came out strongly against the comments made a day earlier by host Jeanine Pirro about Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

"We strongly condemn Jeanine Pirro’s comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar," the network said in a statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter. "They do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly.”

Pirro, who hosts a Saturday night show that is a favorite of President Donald Trump, had drawn backlash for saying that Rep. Omar is "Sharia-compliant" and has practiced "Sharia-adherence behavior" by wearing a hijab. “Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which is antithetical to the U.S. Constitution?” she asked.

The host attempted to address the criticism in her own statement on Sunday night. "I’ve seen a lot of comments about my opening statement from Saturday night’s show and I did not call Rep. Omar un-American," she said. "My intention was to ask a question and start a debate, but of course because one is Muslim does not mean you don’t support the Constitution. I invite Rep. Omar to come on my show any time to discuss all of the important issues facing America today.”

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2015 file photo, Jeanine Pirro attends the HBO Documentary Series premiere of "THE JINX: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst" in New York. Pirro, host of the Fox News Channel show "Justice with Judge Jeanine," was issued a speeding ticket for going 119 mph (192 kph) in a 65 mph (105 kph) zone, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017, in Tioga County, N.Y. Pirro says in a statement through Fox News Channel she had been driving for hours to visit her ailing mother and didn’t realize how fast she was going. She says she will “pay the consequences.” (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2015 file photo, Jeanine Pirro attends the HBO Documentary Series premiere of "THE JINX: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst" in New York. Pirro, host of the Fox News Channel show "Justice with Judge Jeanine," was issued a speeding ticket for going 119 mph (192 kph) in a 65 mph (105 kph) zone, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017, in Tioga County, N.Y. Pirro says in a statement through Fox News Channel she had been driving for hours to visit her ailing mother and didn’t realize how fast she was going. She says she will “pay the consequences.” (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File) Pirro's commentary even drew criticism from one of her colleagues at the network, a producer for Bret Baier's news show. "@JudgeJeanine can you stop spreading this false narrative that somehow Muslims hate America or women who wear a hijab aren’t American enough?" associate producer Hufsa Kamal wrote. "You have Muslims working at the same network you do, including myself. K thx."

Not unlike its cable news competitors, which are hesitant to call out its stars, it's unusual for Fox News to directly condemn a high-profile host like Pirro.

The last time it happened was in November, when the network dinged both Pirro and Sean Hannity for appearing onstage with President Trump at a Make America Great Again campaign rally. "Fox News does not condone any talent participating in campaign events," the network said at the time. "We have an extraordinary team of journalists helming our coverage tonight and we are extremely proud of their work. This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed."

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