Fox News has issued an apology to climate change activist Greta Thunberg, after one of its contributors referred to the teen as a “mentally ill Swedish child.”
On Monday’s broadcast of The Story, political commentator and podcast host Michael Knowles made the remark about Thunberg as part of a larger argument in the climate change debate.
“The climate hysteria movement is not about science,” he began. “If it were about science, it would be led by scientists rather than by politicians and a mentally ill Swedish child who is being exploited by her parents and by the international left.” (Thunberg has Asperger syndrome, a disorder on the autism spectrum that the 16-year-old has previously referred to as her “superpower.”)
In a statement obtained by multiple outlets, including The Washington Post, Fox News denounced Knowles’ remark, confirming there are “no plans” to book him for future appearances on the network.
“The comment made by Michael Knowles who was a guest on The Story tonight was disgraceful — we apologize to Greta Thunberg and to our viewers,” the statement reads. Knowles also received more immediate pushback from fellow Story guest Christopher Hahn, a Democratic Party activist who urged Knowles to “have some couth” when speaking about a young girl.
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“You’re attacking a child. You’re a grown man,” Hahn said. “Maybe on your podcast, you get away [with it] and say whatever you want because nobody’s listening. You’re on national television. Be a grown-up when you’re talking about children.”
Knowles’ comment was made just hours after Thunberg delivered an impassioned speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit, in which she lambasted global leaders for failing to take serious action on the environmental crisis.
“People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing,” Thunberg said. “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?”