Belfast Telegraph

Fox News presenter Lisa Kennedy presenter refuses to apologise for Rory McIlroy 'leprechaun' comment

By Sara Neill

A Fox News commentator has been accused by a Stormont minister of making "wildly racist" remarks by comparing Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy to a leprechaun.

Lisa Kennedy Montgomery made the quip on the lunchtime talkshow Outnumbered on Monday, as her fellow panellists discussed the Holywood golfer's latest injury.

Off-screen but still wearing a microphone, the presenter, known as Kennedy, can be heard saying, "He's a leprechaun, I can't stand him."

In a clarification the following day, Fox Business Network's Kennedy owned up to the remarks - but refused to apologise.

She said she loved sport and golf, but not Rory McIlroy, because of his break-up with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.

"(He) discarded her like a piece of chewed gum when he broke her heart and broke off their engagement in a short phone conversation. That's worse than breaking up on a Post-it," she said.

"I called Rory McIlroy a leprechaun and believe me I wanted to call him much worse."

Kennedy later retweeted images of Rory's face superimposed onto a picture of a leprechaun, drawing further criticism for its derogatory overtones. Fox News said it didn't condone Kennedy's remark or related tweets.

The comments infuriated Stormont Finance Minister Arlene Foster. "That's a wildly racist remark and one, if it was used about me, would cause real offence," she said.

"I think the lady in question should apologise and the station should also issue an apology. I don't see why it should be deemed acceptable in America for people from Northern Ireland to be insulted in this way.

"Derogatory terms about people from other countries are scorned and looked at with shame. We should be no different. Everyone knows what a leprechaun is, but just because they're from Northern Ireland shouldn't have to tolerate being called such."

Ms Foster said she would make a complaint to Fox.

The comments come just weeks after the US Open was broadcast on Fox Sports in a 12-year contract with the Golf Association, thought to be worth $100m annually. The station nabbed the rights from NBC, which has televised the event since 1995.

Rory, who won the US Open in 2011, came ninth in this year's US Open.

Dubliner Ray O'Hanlon is editor of the Irish Echo newspaper based in New York. "I'm sure there are one or two furrowed eyebrows inside the sports department of Fox. They'll be thinking 'we're big into golf now, we don't need this publicity or view expressed'," he said.

"It doesn't fit Rory the person, the athlete, or his achievements. He's a giant in the golfing world, not a leprechaun."

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