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Mon 29 Sep 2014 10:46 AM

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60 US veterans hit out at TV presenters who mocked UAE female fighter pilot

Open letter dismissed two male Fox News presenters' sexists comments as "unwarranted" and "offensive"

60 US veterans hit out at TV presenters who mocked UAE female fighter pilot
Major Mariam Al Mansouri, the UAEs first female fighter pilot who led her countrys air strikes on militants in Syria last week.

Around 60 US military veterans have signed an open letter addressed to the two male Fox News presenters who made a number of sexist jokes about Major Mariam Al Mansouri, the UAE's first female fighter pilot who led her country's air strikes on militants in Syria last week.

Following a segment about Al Mansouri’s involvement in the airstrikes on Fox News on Wednesday last week, presenter Greg Gutfeld (pictured below) mocked the pilot, saying: “The problem is after she bombed it she couldn’t park it” while his colleague Eric Bolling joined in, asking: “Would that be considered boobs on the ground or no?”

The comments led to a backlash and while the presenters tried to downplay the comments, claiming they were harmless jokes, an open letter issued by the foreign policy group Truman National Security Project and signed by around 60 military veterans deemed the comments to be “unwarranted, offensive, and fundamentally opposed to what the military taught us to stand for.”

In the 395-word letter, added that the two men’s remarks were “immensely inappropriate” and described Al Mansouri role as “an inspiring story of a woman shattering glass ceilings in a society where doing so is immeasurably difficult.”

Addressed to Gutfeld and Bolling directly, the veterans’ letter claimed that “by offending an ally and cheapening her contribution, you are actively hurting the mission.”

The UAE was one of five Arab allies, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and Bahrain that supported the US-led airstrikes against ISIL targets inside Syria. Members of ISIL and Al Qaeda were reportedly killed during the mission.

 

Al Mansouri was born in Abu Dhabi and graduated from the country's Khalifa bin Zayed Air College in 2007, according to a profile published earlier this year. She is one of eight children and has a degree in English literature.

Read the letter in full here.

Update: The Fox News presenters have apologised for their
comments. Host Eric Bolling, who made the "boobs on the ground" joke,
issued a statement saying his “remark was not intended to be disparaging of her,
but that's how it was taken."

“I am sorry for what I said. I believe that [UAE
Air Force pilot] Major al Mansouri is a hero. She is courageous, brave, and she
deserves our praise, not inappropriate jokes. I appreciate that she is fighting
the extreme radicals that threaten all of us. She has my admiration and my
very, very sincere gratitude,” he added.

Co-host Greg Gutfield said: "The UAE should
know that I did not mean to slight their progressive move in having this great
woman lead the war on terror, blowing up those heathens. She's pretty
awesome."

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bubban 5 years ago

I am not Emirati but I'm beyond proud for Major Mariam Al Mansouri's contribution to the safety of our host country. She is an example for all others around us to follow.

Thank you Major for your service and thank you UAE for protecting us and others around the world.

Lone Star Cowboy 5 years ago

Neither of these Gentlemen has ever heard a shot fired in anger. Maybe they should leave the cushy confines of Fox News and see what it's like to have a "Truly Bad Day" or I would ask that maybe Major Al Mansouri take both of them on a Maintenance Check Ride and pull a fewGs for fun.... Apologies or not; They should have a bad day so they can truly appreciate anyone who serves their country and wears a uniform to do it.

Just my Support for the Veterans that sent the Letter to Fox. I am an old soldier, US Army, Retired, with a long list of really bad days in some places that never made to the papers. Their comments were truly reprehensible in any era.

Non-Muslim 5 years ago

Great response!
Great letter.
They have my signature, too.
-
Major, you and your comrades are doing a brilliant job!
Shoukran.

Outraged 5 years ago

She is an inspiration. Gutfeld and Bolling should be fired. This kind of sexism is not acceptable. Wonder if they'd have dared be so unspeakably offensive if the Major had been American? And would they still have jobs. SHAME on them and FOX.

Susan Shirey 5 years ago

So Eric Bolling apologized??? Well the veterans from the Truman National Security Project didn't buy his lame attempt to apologize. You're supposed to be a news analyst Boiling...not a comedian. Will I ever take you seriously...as if I ever did....not on your life. In my world you would have been fired for a remark like that on national television. I could tell by your face that you thought you were 'oh so cute". Nothing cute about it....seriously...you are NOT credible. I am embarrassed for your wife.

Bina Mathews 5 years ago

I'm not Emirati or Muslim, but I am a happy and safe resident of the UAE for many years now. I am proud to be in a country that puts it money where it's mouth is. And Maj Mansoori's role just epitomizes the respect and opportunity given to women in the UAE.

I find it ironic that it's a Western media channel that is making the sexist comments, while the Arab country puts a female in charge of their squadron! More power to her and to every girl anywhere in the world who is willing to don a uniform and step up to protect her country. She is a role model I would encourage my girls to look up to.

chalky6766 5 years ago

Fox News is so awful that I never bother watching it. The sad truth behind it is though that some, definitely no all, Americans sit there and identify it as the all seeing eye. These news readers should just stick to their makeup and ball game score reviews as they are useless and not fit to comment on serious matters. The major no doubt will not waste any time on their idiotic comments, I wonder if they could ever be intelligent enough to fly a highly demanding fighter jet like hers or indeed have the courage needed to do so, ignorance personified.

An Indian 5 years ago

I am an ex Indian soldier and I sympathize with the jokers of Fox News. They need to be in the circus ring and the guy in the photo suits the role of a clown.

Major Mariam is an inspiration to all, especially women and I salute her. You need real guts to take part in such daring operations.

Sitting inside a cozy studio these jokers think they can say anything they want.

sajid 5 years ago

She is a hero, an inspiration to millions. Who cares about him.
He look so dumb anyway.

leo50 5 years ago

why should anyone who has ever watched Fox News be surprised or offended by what they see and hear. It is without doubt the worst TV Channel I have ever had the misfortune to see over the past 60 years. They are a joke (bad,) and a disgrace to the name of honest journalism. The only decent show they have ever had is Feherty; and of course, he is Irish.