Fox News host Megyn Kelly clashed with Catholic League president Bill Donohue over his controversial claim that French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo “provoked” Wednesday’s deadly attack with its mocking cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
Fox News' Megyn Kelly (AP)
Kelly opened the segment by asking Donohue whether he believes the targeted cartoonists were brave.
"Do you really think they were not courageous in the face of death threats to be publishing what they did?" Kelly asked.
Donohue responded by stating that he, in fact, doesn't find the cartoonists gallant, comparing them, instead, to pornographers.
"First of all they're pornographers disguised as satirists," he said. "We're not talking about Mel Brooks, we're talking about the functional equivalent of Larry Flynt going to print."
Kelly pushed back, though, defending the cartoonists' free speech and citing a 1988 Supreme Court case – Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell — in which Flynt's First Amendment rights were upheld.
"I will make the point … people have a legal right to insult my religion or somebody else's," Donohue responded. "They don't have a moral right to do so."
He went on to say that he believes people are improperly looking at the issues surrounding the terror attack through a "unidimensional" lens, claiming that "freedom of speech is not an end — it's a means toward an end."
Kelly, though, again counted that she believes "it's also an end."
Donohue refused to back down, claiming that liberty can be lost when abuses of power and abuses of liberty unfold, adding his belief that "self-censorship is the friend of freedom."
"But Bill, people have accused you of blaming the victim — that this is equivalent to blaming a rape victim for being dressed too provocatively, saying she brought it upon themselves," Kelly fired back. "Just because they did something provocative doesn't mean they invited what happened."
In the end, Donohue said that the only people truly responsible are the "Muslim barbarians" who committed this particular crime — individuals whom he called a "threat to liberty," though he said he's tired of narcissism when it comes to the arts.
Watch the clash unfold below:
As TheBlaze previously reported, Donohue's comments, which were issued just hours after Wednesday's attack, have sparked intense controversy.
In a statement titled, “Muslims Are Right to Be Angry,” Donohue condemned the killings, but also said Charlie Hebdo’s “intolerance” of religious figures is what prompted the attack. Twelve people were killed after masked gunmen stormed the publication’s offices in Paris.
“Killing in response to insult, no matter how gross, must be unequivocally condemned. That is why what happened in Paris cannot be tolerated,” the statement opened. “But neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction.”
Read his comments here.