Military veterans are furious at Fox News over sexist remarks made by a male host toward a female fighter pilot.
Last week, Major Mariam Al Mansouri led a squadron of F-16 fighter jets into Syria to attack ISIS. In the process, she became the first female fighter pilot in the United Arab Emirates and the first to lead a combat mission. The joint operation included the United States and other Arab nations coming together in the fight against a brutal terrorist organization.
It was an impressive feat and a noteworthy historical event, but the male hosts over at Fox News couldn’t contain their sexism upon hearing about the story.
At the end of last Wednesday’s edition of Fox’s “The Five,” host Kimberly Guilfoyle commemorated the event and hailed Mansouri for breaking through a glass ceiling in a region where women have traditionally been oppressed. However, when she handed the show back to co-hosts Greg Gutfield and Eric Bolling, both men treated the occasion like a joke.
GUTFIELD: Problem is, after she bombed it, she couldn’t park it.
BOLLING: Would that be considered boobs on the ground, or no?
A visibly upset Guilfoyle could only hang her head and express disappointment that her colleagues ruined the moment.
Here’s the video of the remarks:
The letter p
The very next day. Bolling offered a half-apology for his comments after explaining that his own wife din’t find his “joke” very funny, but he failed to apologize directly to Mansouri.
I want to go back to last night, about this time I made a joke. When I got home, I got the look and I realized some people didn’t think it was funny at all. I said sorry to my wife and I apologize to all of you as well, I just want to make that very clear.
Here’s the video of his “apology.”
You know who else didn’t find Bolling’s comment funny? United States military veterans.
A group of veterans, including Marine, Army, Navy, Air Force, and National Guard vets with the Truman National Security Project published an open letter addressed to Fox News expressing outrage over the sexist remarks.
Among the highlights, the letter accused the male hosts of acting like immature boys instead of grown men and blasted Fox for “offending an ally” and “hurting the mission” against ISIS. The veterans pointed out that women have been flying combat aircraft since World War II and then issued an apology to Mansouri on Fox’s behalf since “anything your producers force you to say will be contrived and insincere.”
Here is the full letter via Talking Points Memo.
Dear Mr. Bolling and Mr. Gutfeld,
We are veterans of the United States armed forces, and we are writing to inform you that your remarks about United Arab Emirates Air Force Major Mariam Al Mansouri were unwarranted, offensive, and fundamentally opposed to what the military taught us to stand for.
First, foremost, and most obvious to everyone other than yourselves, your remarks were immensely inappropriate. Your co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle was so right to call attention to an inspiring story of a woman shattering glass ceilings in a society where doing so is immeasurably difficult. We never heard an answer to her question: why did you feel so compelled to “ruin her thing?”
As it turns out, women have been flying combat aircraft since before either of you were born. Over 1,000 Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) flew during World War II. Seeing as U.S. Army Air Forces Commander “Hap” Arnold said “Now in 1944, it is on the record that women can fly as well as men,” we can probably guess he thought their parking was adequate. The WASP legacy reaches into the present day; on 9/11, then Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney scrambled her F-16. Completely unarmed, she was ready to lay down her own life to prevent further devastating attacks on American soil.
Thus the skill of women as fighter pilots is well established. And before you jump to the standby excuse that you were “just making a joke” or “having a laugh,” let the men amongst our number preemptively respond: You are not funny. You are not clever. And you are not excused. Perhaps the phrase “boys will be boys”—inevitably uttered wherever misogyny is present—is relevant. Men would never insult and demean a fellow servicemember; boys think saying the word ‘boobs’ is funny.
The less obvious implication of your remarks, however, is that by offending an ally and cheapening her contribution, you are actively hurting the mission. We need to send a clear message that anyone, male or female, who will stand up to ISIS and get the job done is worthy of our respect and gratitude.
We issue an apology on your behalf to Major Al Mansouri knowing that anything your producers force you to say will be contrived and insincere. Major, we’re sincerely sorry for the rudeness; clearly, these boys don’t take your service seriously, but we and the rest of the American public do.
Michael Breen, U.S. Army
Shawn VanDiver, U.S. Navy
Kristen Rouse, U.S. National Guard
Andrea Marr, U.S. Navy
Kristen Kavanaugh, U.S. Navy
Richard Wheeler, U.S. Army
Leo Cruz, U.S. Navy
Aryanna Hunter, U.S. Army
Geoff Orazem U.S. Marine Corps
Scott Cheney-Peters, U.S. Navy
Jonathan Murray, U.S. Marine Corps
Timothy Kudo, U.S. Marine Corps
Welton Chang, U.S. Army
Michael Smith, U.S. Army
Gordon Griffin, U.S. Marine Corps
Kelsey Campbell, U.S. Air Force
Matt Runyon, U.S. Army
Richard Weir, U.S. Marine Corps
Scott Holcomb, U.S. Army
Jon Gensler, U.S. Army
Erik Brine, U.S. Air Froce
Rob Miller, U.S. Marine Corps
Josh Weinberg, U.S. Army
John Wagner, U.S. Air Force
Terron Sims II, U.S. Army
Sonia Fernandez, U.S. Marine Corps
Dan Hartnett, U.S. Army
Dan Futrell, U.S. Army
John Margolick, U.S. Marine Corps
Daniel Savage, U.S. Army
Matt Pelak, U.S. Army,
LaRue Robinson, U.S. Army
Anthony Woods, U.S Army
Margot Beausey, U.S. Navy
Dustin Cathcart, U.S. Army
Kayla Williams, U.S. Army
Dan Espinal, U.S. Army
Jonathan Hopkins, U.S. Army
Tony Johnson, U.S. Navy
Andy Moore, U.S. Army
Kevin Johnson, U.S. Army
Brett Hunt, U.S. Army
Russell Galeti, U.S. Army
Gail Harris, U.S. Navy
Katelyn Geary van Dam, U.S. Marine Corps
Mick Crnkovich, U.S. Army
Jonathan Freeman, U.S. Army
Chris Finan, U.S. Air Force
Robert Mishev, U.S. Air Force
Matt Zeller, U.S. Army
William Allen, U.S. Marine Corps
Sharmistha Mohpatra, U.S. Army
Adam Tiffen, U.S. Army
Alex Cornell du Houx, U.S. Navy
Jason Cain, U.S. Army
Rob Bracknell, U.S. Marine Corps
Karen Courington, U.S. Air Force
Justin Graf, U.S. Army
Lach Litwer, U.S. Army
Andrew Borene, U.S. Marine Corps
This is a strong condemnation of Fox News and the sexism it espouses on a day to day basis. At a time when women’s rights are being viciously attacked by the right-wing and its propaganda machine, this incident of sexism was enough to draw a sharp rebuke from military veterans, a group that conservatives constantly claim to have undying love and support for. If sexism were to be condemned on this level all the time, perhaps it would cease coming from the mouths of all Fox hosts and may even cause Republican lawmakers to think carefully before commenting on women’s issues.
Mariam Al Mansouri, like American women who serve in every branch of the US military, risked her life for her country. She’s a hero, and she should be treated like one. Fox not only insulted her, they insulted every woman in history who has ever put on a uniform in defense of this country and others around the globe. Fox should be ashamed of their juvenile behavior and we should all be proud of the men and women who serve our nation and of those veterans who stood up to Fox on behalf of women everywhere.