Michael Knowles Greta Thunberg

Dem Activist Melts Down After Fox News Guest Says Greta Thunberg Is ‘Mentally Ill Swedish Child’

Podcaster Michael Knowles referred to climate activist Greta Thunberg as a “mentally ill Swedish child” during a Fox News panel discussion Monday, triggering immediate backlash. 

Knowles appeared on “The Story With Martha MacCallum” to discuss the day’s protests demanding international action on climate change. Guest-host Harris Faulkner asked him to comment on a Bloomberg editorial published that morning advocating “Meatless Mondays” as a way to help the planet.

Knowles dismissed the opinionators’ suggestion as part of what he called “the climate hysteria movement.” He said climate activism is not really about science.

MORE: Greta Thunberg Fans Beg Twitter Not to Turn Her Into a Meme: ‘She’s Too Pure for This Life’

“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,” he said. “So what you’re seeing is a political movement and a religious movement, and it’s fulfilling religious and political goals of the left, but it isn’t doing that much for science.”

When Knowles mentioned Thunberg, his fellow guest, Democratic Party activist Chris Hahn, muttered: “How dare you?,” borrowing a refrain from the 16-year-old Swede’s speech earlier in the day at the United Nations Climate Action Summit.

When Faulkner asked Hahn to elaborate on his “visceral” reaction, he began to angrily berate Knowles.

“You’re a grown man and you’re attacking a child,” Hahn said. “Shame on you.”

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

“Relax, skinny boy!” said Hahn. “I got this, OK? You’re attacking a child. You’re a grown man. Have some couth, OK, when you’re on television.”

Knowles calmly repeated that he was simply “attacking the left for exploiting a mentally ill child.”

However, Hahn continued his rant.

“Maybe on your podcast you can get away and say whatever you want because nobody is listening,” he said. “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. You are despicable for talking about her like that and you should apologize on national television right now.”
Knowles said that Thunberg is in fact mentally ill, citing the mental disorders she has publicly acknowledged having.
“She has autism,” Knowles said. “She has obsessive-compulsive disorder. She has selective mutism. She had depression.”
Faulkner then moved the panelists to another topic.

Outrage that Michael Knowles would criticize Greta Thunberg

However, the outrage continued online.


Later Monday, Fox News issued a statement calling Knowles’ comments about Thunberg “disgraceful.”

“We apologize to Greta Thunberg and to our viewers,” the network said.

Fox News also said it has “no plans” to book Knowles in the future.

MORE: Trump’s ‘Hilarious’ Reaction to Teen Climate Activist’s Rant Goes Viral

Knowles was not the only commentator to controversially criticize Thunberg on Monday, even on Fox News.

Hours after his appearance, “The Ingraham Angle Host” host Laura Ingraham did a segment comparing the climate activist’s speech to a scene from “Children of the Corn.” After showing the clip from the 1984 movie, Ingraham joked: “I can’t wait for Stephen King’s sequel, ‘Children of the Climate.'”

Then, just before midnight, President Donald Trump ― whose brief encounter with Thunberg at the U.N. climate summit went viral ― shared a clip of her speech, commenting: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”

Defending the indefensible?

Many liberals were aghast at the right-wing shenanigans.

However, some conservatives argued that Thunberg was fair game.

The Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra said Trump was “right to mock this idiotic message,” which he deemed anti-capitalist media propaganda.

Knowles defended himself on Twitter, firing back at a number of his detractors.

“There is nothing shameful about living with mental disorders,” he told one user.

He also retweeted supportive posts and thanked fellow conservative pundit Ann Coulter for her praise.

It was unclear how Thunberg, who sailed from the United Kingdom to New York to minimize her “carbon footprint,” planned to return home.

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