Conservative Fox News personality Tomi Lahren was the target of backlash from her colleagues after asking in a tweet whether Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) slept her way to the top, a suggestion panned as damaging and demeaning to the presidential candidate.
Lahren, a host on the network’s Fox Nation streaming service who routinely appears on the Fox News channel, made the remark Wednesday during the second round of Democratic debates, singling out the senator.
“Kamala did you fight for ideals or did you sleep your way to the top with Willie Brown?” she wrote, referring to the former San Francisco mayor who said earlier this year that the two had dated more than 20 years ago.
Lahren later apologized, but not before other Fox News employees spoke out.
“Do you have any idea how damaging this is to women who’ve actually been sexually harassed, assaulted or demeaned in the workplace?” asked fellow Fox Nation host Britt McHenry. “How much this weakens our own gender, regardless of partisanship.”
McHenry’s co-host, former pro wrestler Tyrus, was recently ousted from the program after she accused him of sexual harassment, The Daily Beast reported.
Janice Dean, a Fox News senior meteorologist, echoed the criticism, arguing that a male contributor would likely have been suspended for such a tweet.
“Pretty disgusting, Tomi,” she added. “Are clicks and retweets worth demeaning women?”
Kat Timpf, a libertarian pundit on the network, also rebuked Lahren, questioning what she hoped to accomplish by taking aim at the Harris’ personal life.
Despite the scrutiny, Lahren initially doubled down on the attack, attempting to defend it by sharing news coverage of Brown’s January letter to the San Francisco Chronicle in which he stated that he “may have influenced her career” with two state appointments when he served as the state’s Assembly speaker.
On Thursday morning, Lahren tweeted a mea culpa, acknowledging that her remark, which has not been deleted, “was the wrong choice of words.”
“There are many other things to take her to task for and I will stick to those,” she said.
In a 2003 interview with SF Weekly as Brown was facing corruption allegations, Harris attempted to shed her connection to the former mayor, describing him as “an albatross hanging around my neck” rather than a help after he endorsed her successful bid that year for district attorney.
“His career is over; I will be alive and kicking for the next 40 years,” Harris said. “I do not owe him a thing.”