Former Fox News host Eric Bolling stormed out during a BBC interview on Wednesday after Black political commentator Aisha Moodie-Mills called him out for “claiming” to care about Black communities.
The conflict began during a debate about how major corporations respond to political issues, including the controversial restrictive elections legislation signed into law last month.
Bolling expressed frustration about Democrats using boycotts as a tool for social change, and complained that “everything has become political.”
“Wearing a mask has become political, a voting law in the state of Georgia has become political, and even has ramifications within Major League Baseball. When you pick sides in a business, you’re alienating the other side.” Bolling continued, “Typically in America, liberals have always used the boycott, say, as a tool, a gun, so to speak, pointing at corporate CEO’s heads, saying, ‘If you listen to us and do things our way, or we’ll boycott your product.'”
After Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the sweeping new elections bill into law, Georgia-based companies, including Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines and Home Depot have criticized the legislation. Activists made calls for consumers to boycott companies that hadn’t spoken out about the bill. Major League Baseball also relocated the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver, Colorado, in response to the legislation.
“The Georgia law is “unacceptable” and “a step backwards,” Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey told CNBC on March 31. “[It] is wrong and needs to be remedied, and we will continue to advocate for it both in private and now even more clearly in public.”
“Conservatives in America have stepped away from that,” Bolling said of boycotts, criticizing “cancel culture.” He then argued that the MLB’s decision to relocate the All-Star game was harmful to the Black community.
“Major League Baseball pulled the All-Star Game from Atlanta. Atlanta is 50 percent African-American. … They pulled it from the state of Georgia and put it into Denver, Colorado, 9.7 percent African-American representation in Denver. … They took $100 million of revenue, they took 8,000 booked hotel rooms, and they moved them out of the state and put them in a state and a city with far less diversity than the state of Atlanta.
Aisha Moodie-Mills, former CNN political commentator, responded, “I think it’s really rich for any Republican, especially white man, to run around and claim that they care about the economic condition of Black communities and Black businesses when that’s a lie.”
As Bolling grew frustrated and tried to interrupt, Moodie-Mills continued, “Everything that these voting laws stand for and what they look like are reminiscent to the Jim Crow policies that my family lived under this, every single thing about it. So this is all about racial discrimination, and how dare you. You try to act like you are somehow a proponent of Black people and businesses just to make a point and to try to create a wedge. It’s ignorant and it’s just disrespectful.”
The controversial legislation, which has been likened to Jim Crow-era laws by Biden, imposes voter identification restrictions for absentee ballots, including the requirement of an ID to vote absentee by mail, limits both the amount of time voters have to request an absentee ballot and where ballot drop boxes can be placed, and makes it illegal to approach voters in line within 150 feet of the polling place and provide them with food or water.
Bolling grew defensive about Moodie-Mills’ comments, saying, “That’s disgusting! I’m done, put me off!” as he waved his hands in the screen. “Because I’m white you think I’m racist, that’s BS, I’m done!”
Bolling then stormed off-camera before briefly returning and saying, “I don’t know why I’m staying here” then demanding Moodie-Mills apologize to him.
When she denied his request for an apology, Bolling again stormed away.
Moodie-Mills seems to have been well aware of Bolling’s history of apparent disdain for Black political figures. The former Fox News and Sinclair Media host, one of the earliest “birther” proponents when former President Barack Obama was in office, has caught flak for describing the 44th president as “too busy chugging forties” while out of the country to visit a tornado-ravaged state in 2011, telling Rep. Maxine Waters in 2012 to “step away from the crack pipe,” and other offenses that Moodie-Mills detailed on Twitter this week.
She took aim at Bolling after the interview on Twitter, accusing him of “feigning outrage” to distract from his hypocrisy.
Despite Bolling’s characterization of boycotts being a favorite weapon of progressives, there was nothing like a consensus on the left about how to leverage corporate pressure to address Georgia’s new voting restrictions. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported this week that former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and outspoken voting rights activist Stacey Abrams urged a senior MLB adviser not to relocate the game out of the Peach State.
“As I have stated, I respect boycotts, although I don’t want to see Georgia families hurt by lost events and jobs,” Abrams said. “Georgians targeted by voter suppression will be hurt as opportunities go to other states.”