February 7, 2023

Modern Family creator just made stunning statement on relationship with Fox over Trump coverage

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The powerhouse creative talent behind hit TV shows including Modern Family and Family Guy, as well as blockbuster movies such as Bridesmaids and Anchorman, are so angry about Fox News’ slanted coverage of immigration and other Trump policies that they are threatening a mass exodus from their longtime homes at the Fox studios. 


This unusual revolt by highly paid TV and film creative stars began on Saturday when Seth MacFarlane, creator of “Family Guy” and the star and director of “Ted,” responded to a tweet from CNN’s media maven Brian Stelter about Fox News host Tucker Carlson telling people to ignore all other news sources but Fox News.

Then last night, Steve Levitan, whose credits include Modern Family and Frasier – and who is known for his strong morality and high principles – announced he is ready to leave his longtime creative home at Fox TV studios because of its corporate sibling’s antics, especially remarks by Fox News host Laura Ingraham about immigrant children. 

He then also made clear his disgust for the repugnant Ann Coulter, another Fox News regular.

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Levitan made clear that he is open to all opinions from all sides but not having one outlet insist it is the only one that matters.

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Levitan praised the people he has worked with at Fox TV but with his contract coming to an end, made it clear he is unlikely to renew no matter who ends up owning it.

Next to join the revolt was Paul Feig, whose recent Fox movies include Melissa McCarthy’s Spy and The Heat, fed up with both Trump’s immigration policies and Fox News’ coverage. 

Judd Apatow, who has already left Fox Studios behind because of his distaste for the Murdoch family politics, added to the chorus of anger, condemning President Trump’s policy of separating children and families at the border. 

Apatow called on others in Hollywood to leave Fox behind, as well.

While many creative people in Hollywood are known to support liberal causes and vote Democratic, it is highly unusual when they speak out in such a public way.

In the past being so political by taking on a sitting president would have been considered professional suicide.

Legendary producer Samuel Goldwyn is most often credited with telling idealistic Hollywood writers and producers who want to do high minded movies, “If you have a message, call Western Union.”

Today these writers, directors, producers, filmmakers, showrunners and other creative people feel free to stand up for what they believe in politically, socially and culturally.

As comedienne Roseanne found out recently and comic Kathy Griffin found out last year when she took on President Trump in a joke that was considered in extremely bad taste, it can still kill a career, at least for a while.

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For Levitan, McFarlane, Feig, and Apatow, however, the new world of media offers nearly endless opportunities to use their proven record of creating hits to work for Amazon, Netflix, Apple cable TV, network TV or in the movies or online, so it is not so much an economic issue as one of being a stand up person. 

McFarlane was so angered by the Fox News suggestion to ignore all others that he put his money where his anger was and just donated $2 million donation to NPR and $500,000 to Los Angeles’ NPR membership station KPCC as his way of supporting good journalism.

While most people know the stars of their movies better than these creators who work mostly behind the scenes, they are nonetheless influential and do matter to a lot of others who will take their words, anger, and actions as things to be considered carefully.

For Trump and Fox News, it is unlikely to matter as they are proud of what they do, even if a growing portion of the American public is revolted by it.

Maybe this Hollywood revolt can help validate the feelings of those who think Trump is taking us in the wrong direction in many ways, no matter how often his toadies on Fox News tell us that he can do no wrong. 

Benjamin Locke

Benjamin Locke is a retired college professor with an undergraduate degree in Industrial Labor and Relations from Cornell University and an MBA from the European School of Management.

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