Fox News viewers bolstered their adamant support for President Donald Trump after a host dared to criticize the president’s response to the recent unrest in Charlottesville, Va.
During an afternoon segment of Fox News’ “The Specialists” on Monday, Aug. 14, co-host Eboni K. Williams derided Trump in the bluntest of terms, calling his initial response to the violent “Unite the Right” rally “cowardly and dangerous.” She also accused the former real estate mogul of downplaying the “blatant, flagrant hatred” spewed by the white nationalist protesters for fear of losing a large chunk of his supporter base.
“In a moment where you could’ve been crystal clear [on] where you stand on the issue of inclusion, standing against white supremacy and domestic terrorism, you very intentionally chose to be ambiguous and to equivocate,” Williams said. “All sides, Mr. President? Please.”
The host’s public tongue-lashing came with a price, however.
In the days since her segment aired, Williams has gotten nearly 150 “menacing messages” from angry viewers who did not care for her condemnation of Trump. She was called every name in the book, from traitor to “anti-American,” and Williams said some of the messages implied an intent to harm. Out of concern for her safety, the host said she requested heavy security escort from the Fox News Network.
“I’ve been on Fox News on and off for five years now,” Williams, who describes herself as a moderate, said in an interview on Wednesday, Aug. 16. “Never in my life had I received the response that I received.”
Ticked-off viewers made sure to make their feelings known on Twitter.
I will never ever again tune in to
your show the Specialists
Eboni Williams racist rant about our President was uncalled for.
— Steve (@stevyjoe1) August 14, 2017
— John R 🇺🇸⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🇺🇸 (@treerat10) August 14, 2017
Despite the backlash, Williams defended her comments, saying she felt compelled to air her displeasure with Trump because she felt viewers deserved a variety of viewpoints, The New York Times reported. The Fox News host seemingly broke rank by sounding off against the president — an action usually reserved for liberal guests of the network.
“I utterly felt compelled in that moment, particularly as a Black woman who works on Fox News Channel, and has the privilege and a responsibility to address an audience that otherwise doesn’t necessarily get my point of view,” she said. “They probably don’t see much of any of the diverse viewpoints I offer.”
William said her network superiors haven’t expressed any concerns about her comments.
“Ill tell you the truth, if they would have said anything, I would’ve been surprised,” she told The New York Times. “I’m no puppet for the network. I call Fox as I see Fox.”