Fox News edited an article Sunday to downplay the presence of white nationalists at an anti-vaccine protest over the weekend, removing references to the racist activists after an initial article describing their role organizing the event prompted pushback from far-right critics.
On Saturday afternoon, followers of white-nationalist leader Nick Fuentes rallied near New York City’s Gracie Mansion to protest the city’s vaccine mandate. That night, Fox News writer Adam Sabes wrote an article about Fuentes’ group facing off with left-wing, anti-fascist activists.
The article’s original headline read “Antifa members clash with White nationalists over COVID vaccine mandate outside NYC’s Gracie Mansion.” The first version of the article described how Fuentes’ fans call themselves “groypers,” and included an Anti-Defamation League description of them “as a white supremacist group.”
The story soon prompted online criticism from Fuentes and other far-right activists, including columnist Michelle Malkin. On social media app Telegram, Fuentes declared that Fox was “scum” for quoting the ADL.
“Fox News using ADL talking points about me and AF,” Fuentes wrote. “Scum.”
Within a few hours of its initial publication, Fox had edited the article and its headline to remove every mention of Fuentes’ name. The headline’s reference to “White nationalists” was removed, and changed to describe Fuentes followers instead as “anti-vaccine protesters.”
Fox also deleted references to the Anti-Defamation League’s criticism of Fuentes. The initial article included a quote from the ADL and the sentence, “The Anti-Defamation League considers the ‘Groyper Army’ as a white supremacist group.” Both lines were absent in the article’s new version.
Fox and Sabes did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fuentes has a history of making anti-Semitic comments, and marched in the 2017 white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. While the original Fox article mentioned Fuentes twice and described him as the rally’s organizer, the story was missing any reference to Fuentes and the “groypers” by Sunday afternoon. In the updated version of the article, his group is described either as anti-vaccine activists or “America First protesters.”
The article was also edited to add more critical references to anti-fascist counterprotesters. In the article’s initial version, they were described as “antifa protesters.” But in the updated version, the language was made more drastic, describing them as “antifa radicals.”
Fuentes was joined at the rally by other white nationalists, including Anthime Gionet, a Jan. 6 riot defendant known as “Baked Alaska.” Like Fuentes, Gionet marched in the Charlottesville white-supremacist rally.
Earlier Saturday, Fuentes’ group crashed another anti-mandate rally outside of Pfizer’s headquarters, prompting pushback from that event’s organizers, who said they didn’t want their event tied to “extremist ideologies.”