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Fox News has been forced to issue an apology after a guest branded 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg a ‘mentally ill child’.

Michael Knowles, from Conservative commentary site The Daily Wire, made the comments during a Fox News segment called The Story. Democratic commentator Chris Hahn also appeared on the show.

It was just hours after Thunberg delivered a speech at the United Nations calling on world leaders to take action on climate change.

Climate change 

“The climate hysteria movement is not about science,” Knowles said during the segment. 

“If it were about science, it would be led by scientists, rather than by politicians and a mentally ill Swedish child who is being exploited by her parents and by the international left.”

‘Attacking a child’

Hahn berated Knowles, saying: “You’re a grown man and you’re attacking a child. Shame on you…You’re attacking a child. You’re a grown man. Have some couth.

“Maybe on your podcast you can get away and say whatever you want because nobody’s listening. You’re on national television. Be a grown-up when you’re talking about children. She’s trying to save the planet because your president doesn’t believe in climate change and kids need to take to the streets to worry about their future.”

Knowles insisted: “I’m not. I’m attacking the left for exploiting a mentally ill child.” 

When Hahn demanded he apologize, Knowles said Thunberg has ‘many mental illnesses’.

Aspergers

Thunberg has Asperger syndrome, which she has described as a ‘superpower’.

Speaking about the condition, which is a developmental disorder on the autism spectrum, she said ‘many ignorant people still see it as an illness’.

She added: “When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go. And then you know you’re winning!

I have Aspergers and that means I’m sometimes a bit different from the norm. And – given the right circumstances- being different is a superpower.”

Apology

Fox News released a statement apologizing for the comments, though at this time, Michael Knowles has not.

“The comment made by Michael Knowles who was a guest on The Story tonight was disgraceful,” said a network spokesperson. We apologize to Greta Thunberg and to our viewers.”

The spokesperson added that Fox has ‘no plans to book Knowles again’.

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.