After a week of social media ridicule, Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro apologized for the unchallenged comments her guest Steve Emerson made about the English city of Birmingham.
Emerson, the executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, said that “there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims don’t go in.” He referred to “no-go zones” as places in several countries where non-Muslims simply don’t go.
The unsubstantiated claims about Birmingham led to a social media hashtag, #FoxNewsFacts, and a YouTube rant by comedian Russell Brand in which he compared Fox News to the terrorists who attacked Charlie Hebdo.
Emerson apologized via Twitter, while the network formally apologized on Saturday four times. Pirro’s apology came during her program, “Justice With Judge Jeanine.”
“Last week on this program, a guest made a serious factual error that we wrongly let stand unchallenged and uncorrected,” Pirro said. “The guest asserted that the city of Birmingham, England, is totally Muslim and that it is a place where non-Muslims don’t go. Both are incorrect.”
Pirro then cited 2011 census data, which indicates that 22 percent of Birmingham’s population self-identifies as Muslim. “We could find no credible source that indicates Birmingham is a so-called ‘no-go zone.’ We deeply regret these errors and apologize to the people of Birmingham, our viewers and all who’ve been offended.