April 5, 2018 5:34 pm
Updated: April 5, 2018 5:39 pm

Amy Schumer cancels interview with Sinclair-owned TV station in wake of controversial ‘fake news’ video

In this Nov. 15, 2015 file photo, Amy Schumer attends the VH1 Big In 2015 with Entertainment Weekly Award Show held at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, Calif.

(Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP, File)

Amy Schumer has scrapped a scheduled interview with a TV station in Washington, DC, due to the fact that the ABC affiliate is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, the right-leaning media conglomerate that has come under fire for forcing the local news anchors at its stations to read a scripted on-camera message decrying so-called “fake news.”

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John Oliver first called out Sinclair last year in an episode of his HBO series “Last Week Tonight”, revealing that the news operations of Sinclair-owned stations were obligated to air “must-run” segments in their local newscasts, including commentaries by former Trump campaign staffer Boris Epshteyn and a daily report from the “Terrorism Alert Desk.”

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However, a video produced by Deadspin (which quickly went viral) demonstrated how far-reaching Sinclair’s efforts had become, with dozens of anchors from stations throughout the U.S. forced to read the same copy, word for word. As Oliver noted on a recent edition of “Last Week Tonight”, the anchors appeared to look like hostages reading a ransom message. “Nothing says ‘We value independent media’ like dozens of reporters forced to repeat the same message over and over again like members of a brainwashed cult,” he quipped.

Since then, Sinclair has been taking fire for tactics some are describing as “Orwellian,” and Schumer’s cancellation marks the first time a celebrity has pushed back at Sinclair by withdrawing participation.

According to BuzzFeed, Schumer was to have sat for an interview with Sinclair-owned WJLA during the press junket for her upcoming film “I Feel Pretty”. A spokesperson for Schumer confirmed to BuzzFeed that Schumer did indeed scrap the interview, while “a person familiar with the matter” says the comedian “hopes to not work with any Sinclair-owned TV station in the future.”

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On Wednesday Sinclair political commentator Epshteyn addressed the controversy by refuting charges of Sinclair’s right-wing bias, offering some points that some will consider to be questionable.

You can watch his response below.

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