Fox News has apologized after airing a graphic showing stock market data one week after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the death of George Floyd and other events that caused civil unrest. The network said that the graphic “should have never aired on television without full context.”
During a segment of Special Report with Bret Baier on Friday, Fox News and Fox Business journalist Susan Li reported that the stock market had risen to “new highs despite the nationwide protests this week. Historically, there has been a disconnect between what investors focus on and what happens across the rest of the country.”
The channel then aired a graphic which journalist Yashar Ali later shared on Twitter, along with a clip of its broadcast on Twitter. He said that the data appeared to have been pulled from articles published in the Wall Street Journal and Fortune.
“This is a horrific graphic to have put up on air. My god,” Ali wrote.
After the segment was released, the graphic was widely criticized, including by King’s son, human rights advocate Martin Luther King III. King said on Twitter Saturday that he is “appalled by Fox News’ insensitive decision to compare the death of black men to gains in the stock market. This only reinforces the greed and inhumanity that exists in America as it relates to black people. A human life DOES NOT compare to a percentage jump in the S&P 500.”
FOX News later apologized for the graphic in a statement.
“The infographic used on FOX News Channel’s Special Report to illustrate market reactions to historic periods of civil unrest should have never aired on television without full context,” the network said in a release to TIME. “We apologize for the insensitivity of the image and take this issue seriously.”
Baier also posted the apology on his Twitter account on Saturday.
Fox correspondent Eric Shawn also addressed the graphic on Saturday’s telecast of “America’s News HQ,” saying that the graphic should not have been aired, according to the Associated Press. Shawn said that when the infographic tried to illustrate that “the stock market on occasion gained ground in the midst of turmoil, civil unrest and even tragedy,” the show had “failed to explain the context of the times we are living in and should not have used that graphic.”