Fox News anchor Emily Compagno this week downplayed criticism that women’s rights are being attacked in the United States, but claimed that pregnant Kenyan women are not only being denied the right to vote but are also being prevented from physically leaving their homes .
It didn’t last long though, because calling real Kenyans their comments as misleading and urge the host and network to make a correction.
However, despite the backlash, Compagno is not backing down, citing an unrelated website to make her point.
During a July 5 appearance on Fox News’ late-night “comedy” show Gutfeld!, Compagno has had issues with celebrities dabbling in political issues, allegedly trying to “cancel” the 4th of July. She chided those who have complained about American women losing their rights, noting that this pales in comparison to what women in other countries face.
“The insularity of these celebrities is so idiotic to me! It’s so gross. These comments are completely delusional,” he said outnumbered The co-host was furious, adding: “We have fewer voting rights? How about in Kenya, where pregnant women cannot leave the house and thus have absolutely no constructive voting rights?”
First reported by liberal watchdog Media Matters, Compagnos’ eyebrow-raising remarks about Kenya quickly sparked fires on social media and African news outlets.
“What is that? What does Emily Compagno say? That pregnant women in Kenya cannot leave the house and therefore have no right to vote? How does she imagine our country? This statement is false, misleading, condescending and should be withdrawn,” she said Kenyan political strategist Pauline Njoroge tweeted.
“Pregnant women in Kenya are allowed to leave the house. Pregnant women in Kenya can vote. Pregnant women have priority in voting. Pregnant women give birth for free as part of the #lindamama government program. Withdraw your statement,” Esther M. Passaris, a female member of the Kenya National Assembly, tweeted at Compagno.
As many Kenyans have pointed out on social media, the African country’s independent Elections and Boundaries Commission has expanded voting access for pregnant women. In addition to the elderly and people with disabilities, women-to-be can avoid long lines and jump straight to the front of the line.
Aside from asking for a fix, many Kenyans urged Compagno and Fox News to campaign for the “ignorant” and “clueless‘ comments she felt would have ‘devastated’ her home country.
When asked to comment on the controversy, Compagno – via a Fox News spokesperson – stood by her words, pointing to two websites where she found claims that pregnant women in Kenya were allegedly barred from entering their homes leaving. This severely limits their right to vote, hence their use of the word “constructive” on Tuesday night.
A website, Grazia Daily, wrote that in western Kenya “cultural norms prohibit women expecting children from seeing themselves in public, which means a large proportion of women cannot vote”. The other site, World Population Review, wrote: “Kenyan women are not allowed to take long walks (such as to go to elections) and pregnant women are forbidden to leave the house. High rates of illness and a history of election-related violence also keep women at home.”
Neither website cites an official source to back up the claims.