NEW YORK (AP) – A Fox News executive said Saturday that the network did not pay Kyle Rittenhouse’s family for any special access during Rittenhouse’s murder trial or after his acquittal. after it was announced that he would speak with Tucker Carlson for an interview to air Monday.
The comment came after Rittenhouse trial attorney Mark Richards said that a Fox documentary team was integrated with the Rittenhouse team against their wishes. Richards told The Associated Press on Saturday that he did not think the filming was appropriate and that he had kicked the team out of the meetings several times.
“It wasn’t approved by me, but I’m not always in control,” he told the AP. “I think it detracted from what we were trying to do, and obviously that was for Kyle to be found not guilty.”
Richards, told the AP and in similar comments to CNN late Friday, said it was arranged by those who were raising money for Rittenhouse, though he did not say that Fox paid Rittenhouse.
Carlson, on his show Friday, showed parts of what his film crew had recorded, including Rittenhouse’s first public comments after he was acquitted of murder charges in a trial that sparked a national debate on guns and self-defense.
Justin Wells, senior executive producer of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” said no payment for access, filming rights, legal fees or any other purpose was made to Rittenhouse or his family.
It is considered unethical for a news organization to pay for an interview. Broadcasters have found solutions for highly sought-after interview topics, including paying for old photos or moving an interview subject to different locations and placing them in hotels.
David Hancock, a spokesman for the Rittenhouse family, said any potential payment from Fox “was never offered and never asked for and never discussed.”
The intent of the documentary, which will be shown next month on Fox Nation’s streaming service, is to commemorate the experience Rittenhouse had during the trial and to show people who he really is, he said.
By casting Fox, the Rittenhouse family is presenting the story to an audience that is likely to support it. The Conservatives posted his $ 2 million bail after his arrest last year. A website dedicated to defending Rittenhouse and raising money for him greets visitors with a quote attributed to James Monroe: “the right to self-defense never ceases.”
Carlson was chosen to conduct the first post-trial interview with Rittenhouse because “he was honest. At first he saw what was happening and pointed out that Kyle was fighting back, ”Hancock said.
The spokesperson said Rittenhouse plans to do other interviews with other news organizations, though they have yet to be established.
At Carlson, the 18-year-old will sit down with an interviewer who said on his show Friday night that it was “a day we should all be celebrating.”
Carlson, along with his colleagues Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, made victorious laps during their shows and attacked politicians and members of the media who thought Rittenhouse should be condemned.
“For the authoritarians among us, this is a disaster,” Carlson said. “They can’t let it go. Why? Because they understand that the Rittenhouse case is a referendum on the most basic right of all: the ancient right to self-defense. If Kyle Rittenhouse can save his own life from the mob, you can too, and that drives them crazy. “
Speaking to CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Friday, Richards said Rittenhouse “is going to have some tough decisions in his life about where he’s going and what he stands for. These will have to be done by Kyle eventually. … You need to learn to take responsibility and tell people ‘no’ ”.
Richards also told reporter Ashleigh Banfield in a separate interview that while he’s “not a great Fox guy,” he also had harsh words from the coverage he saw on CNN and MSNBC.
“It makes me angry that they can’t take the time to at least get the generic basic facts right, because they didn’t fit into the story they wanted to tell,” he said.
___ Associated Press reporter Amy Forliti contributed from Minneapolis.