The White House has slammed Greg Gutfeld for his “dangerous and extreme lie” after claiming that some Jews survived the Nazi camps because they were “useful”.
The Fox News host’s inflammatory comment came during a panel defending Florida’s controversial new slavery curriculum – which also drew rebukes from the Auschwitz Museum and mass internet outrage when he was branded a “scumbag.”
Middle school students in Florida are being taught that slavery gives blacks “skills” they can “use to their personal advantage,” according to the new curriculum approved by the state’s Board of Education.
A 216-page board document contains new instructions for middle school teachers, including how students should be taught “how slaves developed skills that could, in some cases, be used to their personal advantage.”
Presenters such as Jesse Watters, 45, and Gutfeld, 58, spoke about this new curriculum on Monday’s edition of Fox News Channel’s The Five show and were involved in a breathtaking exchange, captured in clips that have since gone viral.
The White House has slammed Fox News anchor Greg Gutfeld for his “dangerous and extreme Holocaust lie” after he claimed some Jews survived Nazi camps because they were “useful”.
It began with Watters defending the curriculum pushed through by Florida Gov. and White House administration hopeful Ron DeSantis.
“It is a historical fact that slaves developed skills during their enslavement and then used those skills as blacksmiths, such as farming, tailoring, or shipping, and then used them for themselves and their families after their release,” Watters said.
“It’s not controversial. It actually testifies to the resilience and skills of the enslaved African Americans who were then able to better themselves and improve their situation.
“Despite brutal, brutal conditions, horrific and abhorrent conditions.”
It was at this point that Fox News Liberal co-anchor Jessica Tarlov, 39, mentioned that she was Jewish and asked the hypothetical question: “Would anyone say about the Holocaust, for example, that there were some advantages for Jews?”
“Right while they hung around in concentration camps – ‘You learned a strong work ethic, didn’t you? Maybe you’ve learned a new skill.”
Gutfeld essentially answered “yes”.
“Have you ever read Man’s Search for Meaning?” he asked.
“Viktor Frankl talks about having skills to survive in the concentration camp.” “You had to be useful – useful – useful kept you alive,” explained Gutfeld.
Jesse Watters, 45, also made a similar comparison about black Americans subjected to slavery
This comes after Jesse Watter’s primetime viewership fell by 800,000 after he replaced Tucker Carlson. The show premiered with Watters on July 17 and attracted 2.4 million viewers, compared to Carlson’s usual 3.2 million
The White House spoke out the next day, criticizing the right-wing broadcaster for its silence on the controversial comment.
“What Fox News allowed it to say on its show yesterday — and has not yet condemned it — is obscenity,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement to CNN.
“A Fox News anchor defended a horrific, dangerous, and extreme lie that insults the memory of the millions of Americans who suffered the evils of enslavement, and told another horrific, dangerous, and extreme lie that insults the memory of the millions who suffered the ills of the Holocaust.”
“Let’s get something straight that the American people fully understand and that isn’t complicated: There was nothing good about slavery; There was nothing good about the Holocaust. Point.
“Americans deserve to be brought together and not torn apart by poison.” And they deserve the truth and the freedom to learn, not book bans and lies.”
Officials at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland also criticized her comments in a lengthy, six-paragraph Twitter post.
“While it is true that some Jews used their skills or usefulness to increase their chances of surviving during the Holocaust, it is important to properly contextualize this statement and understand that it does not reflect the complex history of genocide perpetrated by Nazi Germany,” they said.
Gutfeld’s inflammatory comment came during a panel defending Florida’s controversial new slavery curriculum – which also drew rebukes from the Auschwitz Museum
“While it is correct to recognize that some Jews may have temporarily survived because of their perceived usefulness, it is important to remember that the Holocaust was a systematic genocide with the ultimate goal of exterminating the entire Jewish population.”
“It would be more appropriate to say that some Jews survived the Holocaust because they were considered temporary useful and the circumstances surrounding the collapse of the Nazi regime prevented their assassination.”
“We should avoid such simplifications when discussing this complex tragic story,” they concluded.
The museum also addressed Gutfeld’s reference to Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl’s 1946 autobiography, which chronicles his experiences and the way they shaped his view of the world.
“Viktor Frankl’s observation of the specific situation at Auschwitz, which eventually became a camp combining the functions of a concentration camp and an extermination camp and where deported Jews went through the selection process, shows how some Jews became registered prisoners and may have used their skills to gain favor or prolong their lives in this particular environment,” they said.
“Yet it has never offered them complete protection.”
Gutfeld, who is known for his provocative rhetoric and has been a staple of the Fox News cast for more than 15 years after joining in 2007, drew far more brazen criticism from viewers online.
Jewish academic Shaiel Ben-Ephraim, who describes himself as a Zionist, asked Gutfeld if he thought his family members who died in the Holocaust were “simply not useful enough to live on”.
“To explain how slavery benefited African Americans, Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld explains that the beneficial Jews survived the Holocaust,” Ben-Ephraim said.
“My family members who didn’t survive Auschwitz just weren’t useful enough to live on.” Right, Greg?’
Gutfeld’s Holocaust commentary sparked outrage from both the Jewish community and horrified viewers on Twitter
A woman named Marlene Robertson also spoke up on Twitter and branded Gutfeld a “scumbag”.
“Bumbag Greg Gutfeld says the Holocaust wasn’t that bad because some Jews survived with skills,” Robertson said.
“He doesn’t mention what happened to the six million Jews who had no skills.”
“How the hell do advertisers who keep Fox afloat sleep at night?”
This comes after Jesse Watter’s primetime viewership fell by 800,000 after he replaced Tucker Carlson.
The show premiered with Watters on July 17 and attracted 2.4 million viewers, compared to Carlson’s usual 3.2 million.
It was Watters’ first 8 p.m. show since Carlson, 54, was fired from the network in April, just days after Fox settled its $787.5 million lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems over defamation allegations surrounding the 2020 presidential election.
Although Carlson’s loyal following didn’t all follow Watters’ show, he clearly outperformed his peers on CNN and MSNBC, according to ratings data compiled by Nielsen.
All In with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes had 1.222 million viewers that same night and CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 had 668,222 viewers.