On Monday, The Daily Beast reported that Fox News is cutting ties with right-wing video-blogging duo Diamond & Silk, after they used their platform to promote conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic.
"After rising to prominence during the 2016 election, Lynette 'Diamond' Hardaway and Rochelle 'Silk' Richardson leveraged their newfound celebrity into regular sycophantic appearances on Fox News, resulting in President Donald Trump raving about their performances, featuring them at rallies, and treating them as 'senior advisers,'" reported Lachlan Cartwright and Justin Baragona. "The social-media personalities were eventually tapped to provide weekly videos for Fox Nation after it launched as a subscription-based online video network. Their episodes, essentially 5-7 minute distillations of their freeform live-streams, appeared like clockwork on the streaming service until earlier this month."
"Diamond & Silk have used their heavy social-media presence to be at the forefront of right-wing misinformation about the COVID-19 outbreak," continued the report. "For instance, during their March 30 livestream, the duo claimed that the number of American coronavirus deaths has been inflated to make Trump look bad." Diamond proclaimed "Where are the bodies?" and speculated the virus could be being "deliberately spread." Silk has also suggested the virus could be a bioweapon manufactured by the "deep state."
Fox News has been struggling for weeks to balance the pressures of right-wing allies of Trump who want to spread counter narratives on the pandemic, and the necessity to provide accurate public health information.
Recently, Fox Business host Trish Regan was cut after calling the pandemic an "impeachment scam." However, some major Fox hosts who have sought to downplay the virus, like Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, are still employed.