Teamster Local 237 Greg Floyd was part of a three-man picket—along with upper Manhattan Assemblyman Al Taylor and community activist Willie Walker—outside Fox News headquarters Aug. 31 calling for the firing of Tucker Carlson for justifying the actions of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who less than a week earlier allegedly killed two protesters in Kenosha, Wis. during a rally decrying the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
The three men contended that this was just another example of what they characterized as "racist rhetoric and fear-mongering over the Black Lives Matter movement."
Mr. Carlson had told viewers, "Kenosha has devolved into anarchy; the authorities in charge of the city abandoned it. How shocked are we that 17-year-old kids with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?"
Mr. Floyd told us the following morning that while FoxNews sent a camera outside its headquarters at the Avenue of the Americas between West 49th and 50th Sts. to film their protest, its executives did not react to the call for Mr. Carlson's firing.
He said he aligned with Reverend Taylor and Mr. Walker in a protest they kept small to ensure their message would not be diluted by a large gathering raising other issues because he was bothered by "the tone of the language" used by the controversial Fox commentator.
"That language could lead to more citizens taking up arms and acting as vigilantes," Mr. Floyd said, adding that the killing of two men and the wounding of another, allegedly by Mr. Rittenhouse, had been followed over the weekend by the killing of another man in a clash between protesters in Portland and a right-wing group that turned out to confront them. Where Mr. Rittenhouse is reportedly a fervent supporter of President Trump, the victim in Portland was part of the right-wing counter-protesters.
The Local 237 leader said of Mr. Carlson's sympathetic remarks about the accused teen, "You can't glorify a 17-year-old or anyone who takes the law into their own hands. It's gotta stop."
Mr. Floyd, whose union represents a sizable law-enforcement contingent that includes School Safety Agents and security personnel in city agencies including NYC Health+Hospitals and the Human Resources Administration, has generally not been active in street protests. But he told us he had been impressed by NBA players' decision in the wake of the shooting of Mr. Blake seven times in the back by a Kenosha police officer to postpone playoff games until the league and its owners agreed to push for reforms and to open up their arenas as voting sites.
"I asked myself, what can we at labor do?" he said.
Mr. Carlson's incendiary remarks while championing Mr. Trump have cost him sponsors in the past, but those advertisers merely transferred their business to other Fox broadcasts. The goal of this protest and others to follow, Mr. Floyd said, is, "We want sponsors to leave Fox altogether if they don't fire him."
* * *
Former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who lost his 2014 challenge to Governor Cuomo on the Republican line, has been endorsed for a Hudson Valley State Senate seat by the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association, which criticized incumbent Peter Harckham as one of the architects of the bail-reform law.
Troopers PBA President Tom Mungeer said in a statement that he feared the crime increase already affecting New York City could spread to the suburbs. The 40th District seat being sought by Mr. Astorino includes parts of Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties.
"We need individuals like Rob Astorino in leadership positions to help law-enforcement officers better serve the residents of New York State," the head of the 6,000-member union said. "The crime wave that is ravishing NYC currently because of misplaced police-reform legislation will soon creep into the suburbs."
Mr. Astorino said, "Public safety is the bedrock of healthy, stable communities, and current legislators in Albany have forgotten that in the false name of progress."
We depend on the support of readers like you to help keep our publication strong and independent. Join us.