The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) announced Thursday it returned a $16,666 check to Fox News, and rescinded the network’s sponsorship invitation for the organization’s annual convention.
In an Aug. 22 letter sent to its members, NAHJ president Hugo Balta said the decision followed “prejudiced” comments made by Fox News Radio personality Todd Starnes.
“Starnes, justifies his prejudiced language directed against Latino immigrants as opinionated commentary,” Balta wrote. “Starnes unapologetically states that America has ‘suffered’ from the ‘invasion of a rampaging hoard of illegal aliens,’ claiming that most ‘illegal immigrants’ are violent criminals as well as casually using a reference for their immigration to the United States with the Nazis invading France and Western Europe in World War II.”
Starnes is a conservative columnist and author. He hosts The Todd Starnes Radio Show and Starnes Country on the Fox Nation streaming service, according to his bio on Foxnews.com.
It was unclear when Starnes made the comments, but Balta said they came less than two weeks after the Aug. 3 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, when a gunman targeting immigrants killed 22 people and left dozens of others injured.
According to Balta, Fox News expressed “regret” about Starnes’ remarks, but the network apparently took no additional action.
“The latest ‘regret’ by Fox News is one of many where the immigrant community and by association, all Hispanics and Latinos, have been demonized by voices with high visibility due to there being little to no consequences by management,” Balta said.
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In a statement to Urban Hollywood 411 Thursday afternoon, Fox called NAHJ’s decision “unfortunate.”
“It is unfortunate the country’s main organization for Hispanic journalists has chosen to exclude Fox News from their upcoming convention,” said Marsheila Hayes, vice president of diversity & inclusion at Fox News.
“As the leading news network in the country, we are committed to fostering a diverse and collaborative workplace environment, and have been recognized in the industry for our advancement in this area, most notably with our multimedia reporter program. We are proud of our inclusive team and their achievements in journalism,” Hayes added.
The NAHJ’s Excellence in Journalism (EIJ) confab is scheduled to kick off on Sept. 5.