Weekend host Jeanine Pirro — under fire for her comments about a Muslim congresswoman — will remain off her Saturday Fox News show for a second week.
“Justice with Judge Jeanine” will be bumped for a live special on Robert Mueller’s report on the Trump-Russia investigation. It will be anchored by Fox News chief national correspondent Ed Henry. The network had previously planned to air a repeat of the documentary series “Scandalous: The Trial of William Kennedy Smith,” in place of Pirro.
A representative for Fox News declined comment on why Pirro’s show had been off the air since March 16.
But people at the network not authorized to comment say the fiery conservative host has been suspended for remarks she made about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on her March 9 program. Pirro is expected to return March 30.
Fox News released a strong public rebuke of Pirro after she questioned whether Omar was committed to Sharia law and Islamic doctrine because she wore a hijab, a traditional head covering worn by Muslim women. The network said it had “addressed the matter directly” with Pirro.
Omar, an immigrant from Somalia, stirred public outrage over tweets she made regarding U.S. support of Israel that were interpreted as anti-Semitic. She has become a popular target of conservative pundits.
After Pirro’s program was pulled Saturday, she did receive support from President Trump, who is a regular viewer and a champion of Fox News. Pirro, a former judge and prosecutor, is an ardent supporter of Trump.
“Bring back @Judge Jeanine Pirro,” Trump wrote Sunday on Twitter. “The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country. They have all out campaigns against @FoxNews hosts who are doing too well.”
The controversy comes at a sensitive time for Fox News.
Although conservative commentators on Fox News deliver the largest audiences for the network, their provocative statements have scared off advertisers. The cable news channel this week was spun off into a separate company, Fox Corp., as part of the sale of 21st Century Fox assets to Walt Disney Co.
At least four advertisers — personal finance company NerdWallet, online marketplace Letgo, and drugmakers Allergan and Novo Nordisk — have said they have suspended their sponsorship of Pirro’s program because of her remarks about Omar.
Fox News has been struggling to retain advertisers for conservative weeknight hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham.
The network must tread carefully because its loyal conservative viewers are turned off when the network is seen as giving in to pressure.