What brings out MTV News, AllHipHop.com, Access Hollywood, The Colbert Report and, well, us? A Nas-led protest outside News Corp. today, home of Fox News Channel.
The hip-hop star (left) joined about 50 protesters, (less than another anti-FNC protest in 2004) from two organizations: ColorofChange.org and MoveOn.org who called on the network to, “stop its racist smears against the Obamas and other Black Americans.”
Also in attendance — more than 620,000 signed petitions. Andre Banks, deputy director of Color of Change, told TVNewser the plan was to bring the boxes in one by one, but in the end, “They refused to accept the petitions. They just don’t want to hear it.”
The protesters stood quietly for about an hour until Nas appeared, most holding pre-made or hand-made signs. Many Fox News employees came to check out the scene, including Red Eye host Greg Gutfeld and some of the show’s staff. “This is quite possibly the most boring protest ever,” he told us.
But that was before Nas arrived. The hip-hop star emerged from an SUV to a flutter of cameras, made his way to the front of the protesters and gave a short speech, before heading back into the SUV.
A Fox News spokesperson tells TVNewser, “Fox News believes in all protesters exercising their right to free speech, including Nas, who has an album to promote.”
About 15 minutes after leaving, Nas returned, and he had something to say.
“They messed with the wrong person,” said Nas. “They know what time it is.”
He said he was disappointed the petitions weren’t able to be delivered, but “we’re going to work on it.” Banks tells TVNewser the next step will be to compile the petitions in a spreadsheet and email it to Fox News.
Nas and Fox News have a history going back to last fall. It led Nas to produce the song “Sly Fox” on his new album. John Gibson took on the rapper in October over his purported album title. Gibson may address the protest today on his radio show — a staffer was on hand to get audio for a possible segment.
But Nas vs. O’Reilly has been the biggest story. Last August, O’Reilly questioned the decision to have the rapper at a Virginia Tech tribute show, and Nas fired back, including challenging O’Reilly to a debate. Today on The Radio Factor, O’Reilly talked about the protest.
We asked Banks how he thinks FNC handled the Rev. Jesse Jackson off-air comments. He said it was, “good to see Fox exercise restraint in how they cover things.”
As for any bias against Barack Obama, FNC announced yesterday that Bill Hemmer will interview Obama in London on Saturday, and Fox News has two seats on the press plane during the presumptive nominee’s overseas trip.
> Update: As expected, John Gibson talked about the protest on his radio show tonight. Johnny Dollar has the audio.