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  5. Fox News inks contributor deal with Caitlyn Jenner, touting her as a 'trailblazer' and 'inspiration to us all' amid backlash over Florida's anti-LGBT parental rights bill

Fox News inks contributor deal with Caitlyn Jenner, touting her as a 'trailblazer' and 'inspiration to us all' amid backlash over Florida's anti-LGBT parental rights bill

Jake Lahut   

Fox News inks contributor deal with Caitlyn Jenner, touting her as a 'trailblazer' and 'inspiration to us all' amid backlash over Florida's anti-LGBT parental rights bill
  • Former Olympian and one-time GOP candidate Caitlyn Jenner signed a contributor deal with Fox News.
  • In the announcement, CEO Suzanne Scott called Jenner "a trailblazer in the LGBTQ+ community."

Fox News announced on Thursday that Caitlyn Jenner signed a deal to join the network as a contributor.

Jenner, a former Olympian and 2021 GOP gubernatorial recall candidate in California, said in the network's press release that she's "humbled by this unique opportunity to speak directly to FOX News Media's millions of viewers about a range of issues that are important to the American people."

Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott issued a statement, heralding Jenner, who is transgender, as a "trailblazer in the LGBTQ+ community" and "the most famous transgender woman in the world."

"Caitlyn's story is an inspiration to us all," Scott said as part of the announcement. "She is a trailblazer in the LGBTQ+ community and her illustrious career spans a variety of fields that will be a tremendous asset for our audience."

The network release also touted Jenner's eponymous foundation for its work "providing grants to organizations that improve the lives of transgender people, including youth, as well as anti-bullying, suicide prevention, healthcare, housing, employment, and related programs."

Jenner has appeared regularly on Fox News since her defeat in the 2021 California recall election, where she received about 1% of the vote among those who supported removing Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom from office.

While paid contributor agreements such as Jenner's usually take weeks or months to finalize, Thursday's announcement comes amid an intense focus from Fox News on Florida's anti-LGBT "parental choice" law, and particularly on one of its most prominent opponents, The Walt Disney Company.

Dubbed by critics as Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' "Don't Say Gay" law — officially named the Parental Rights in Education bill — the legislation will take effect in July and ban any discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity for teachers of students in kindergarten through third grade. It also includes ambiguous language banning instruction that's carried out "in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate."

Across Fox News programming, gender identity and sexual orientation are often lumped together as "sexuality."

Fox News has often covered transgender Americans through the lens of women's sports and schools, depicting women who have transitioned in particular as posing a risk those around them.

This pattern of coverage brought criticism from GLAAD, formerly known as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, who called unchallenged claims made by guests on the network as "roundly rejected by the American Psychological Association." Fox News also focused on University of Pennsylvania women's swimmer Lia Thomas, who first competed on the men's swimming team and then took a year off from school as she transitioned.

Jenner has previously weighed in on the recurring Fox News debates about Thomas, saying the NCAA should update its hormone regulations, which Thomas complied with in order to compete. Jenner has a mixed record in criticizing some measures, such as former President Donald Trump's executive order rescinding protections for trans kids to use the bathroom of their choice, while remaining against transgender women playing sports with cis-gender women.

"It's an issue of fairness," she said in May 2021, "and we need to protect girls' sports in our schools."

Fox News host Jesse Watters began Wednesday's edition of "The Five" by describing Disney as "yet another big American company going woke" and "caving to the liberal mob" following the company's statement calling for the bill to be repealed or "struck down by the courts."

DeSantis appeared on Tucker Carlson's primetime show on Tuesday night, where he decried the company's opposition to the bill. "You've gotta wonder, like, why is the hill to die on to have transgenderism injected into kindergarten classrooms, or woke gender ideology injected into second grade classrooms? Why is that the hill to die on?" DeSantis said.

He also joined Carlson in crying foul over a leaked all-hands meeting where a Disney producer mentions having a "not-at-all-secret gay agenda" in a lighthearted comment about her feeling of inclusion at the company.

"Why not just rename the rollercoaster, you know, sex mountain?" primetime host Laura Ingraham said on her Wednesday night show in response to Disney's opposition. "C'mon kids, it'll be a blast."

Meanwhile, in Fox News Media's 2021 corporate responsibility report, the company touts itself as receiving "a 100% score in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's 2021 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) – our third year earning top marks. The score gives FOX the distinction of 'Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.'"

In 2017, the year following network founder and CEO Roger Ailes' resignation over sexual harassment allegations, Fox's then-parent company, 21st Century Fox — which later spun off Fox News and was acquired by Disney — received a rating of just 10 out of 100 in the same index.

In response to a request for comment, Fox News referred Insider to the company's official announcement.

Jenner will appear for the first time in her new role as a contributor on Sean Hannity's show on Thursday night, according to the network.


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