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In the run-up to the 2016 election, Fox News host Sean Hannity appeared in a #HEARTLAND4TRUMP video promotion for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The network did not approve. “We were not aware of Sean Hannity participating in a promotional video and he will not be doing anything along these lines for the remainder of the election season,” a spokesperson said at the time.
On Sunday, the president’s re-election campaign posted a video advertisement on Facebook that featured Diamond and Silk, the YouTube sensations who are paid to host a weekly show for the Fox News streaming service Fox Nation.
So far, Fox News has not responded to The Hollywood Reporter‘s request for comment on the video, in which the duo of sisters tout the president’s first-term achievements and make a strong pitch for his re-election. “President Trump has the resolution and solutions to solve problems,” Lynnette Hardaway (“Diamond”) says in the video. “We don’t need to take a nose dive. We all going to stick with President 45. So that we can win, win, win. Now 2020, here we come!”
The conservative personalities, who joined Fox Nation in November 2018, also appeared in a Trump campaign video in March and warmed up the crowd at a Make America Great Again rally for the president in Wisconsin a month later. (The network has said that it “does not condone any talent participating in campaign events.”)
When asked about the appearance, a network spokesperson told THR at the time that the duo are not Fox News employees, putting distance between them and the company. “Diamond & Silk license short weekly videos to Fox Nation — they are not Fox News contributors or employees,” the spokesperson said. “When they appear on FNC and FBN, they do so as guests.” (A website for the performers says, “they currently work as contributors on Fox Nation.”)
In the March video, Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law and campaign adviser, suggested the duo are in lockstep with the re-election effort. “We fought together in 2016,” she told them. “We’ve got another fight coming up in 2020…. You guys do so much to support him.”
Diamond and Silk were not paid for participating in Sunday’s promotional video, according to a Trump campaign official who described them as “beloved and appreciated volunteers and supporters.” (The duo did not respond to an emailed request for comment.)
A former Fox News executive told THR that the network seems to be applying “different standards” for Fox Nation hosts like Diamond and Silk, considering that Hannity and opinion show host Jeanine Pirro have previously been castigated for appearing at Trump campaign events.
“I think streaming services can get away with a lot more than traditional cable networks, and at the same time need to have a different kind of more aggressive talent in order to recruit paid subscribers,” the former executive said. “With that said, having the Fox brand in the name is always going to draw an obvious connection between the two and make for a branding challenge at minimum.”
A longtime former producer said the campaign video “looks bad” for Fox News, adding that “it seems like management there doesn’t care or is trying to have a different set of rules for Fox Nation.”
The hosts also have a history of making inflammatory comments on the Fox News linear channel that have prompted widespread backlash on social media. During a May 24 appearance on the morning show Fox & Friends, Diamond said that House speaker Nancy Pelosi “always looks like she’s a non-functioning alcoholic” and “slurs her words,” echoing what co-host Steve Doocy called a “doctored video” that slowed down Pelosi’s speech to make her sound drunk.
But the duo did not apologize for the insinuation. “We recently watched Nancy Pelosi in real time on live TV as we’ve done in the past,” they wrote on Twitter. “To Us, she looked like a Non-Functioning Alcoholic then & she still looks like one now,” adding “#AA” for emphasis. (Fox News did not comment on the remarks.)
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