What happens when a naïve American Fox news presenter invites an iconic revolutionary musician onto her program to discuss the line-up of an upcoming music festival?
Well, the inevitable…. and some of the best – albeit most awkward – television imaginable.
Last week, Fox News 8 in Cleveland invited Raymond Lawrence Riley – better known as ‘Boots Riley’ – onto their program to discuss his band’s appearance at the LKWD Festival later that afternoon.
The clue should have been in the name of Boots’ band – The Coup – but an apparently blissfully unaware Fox presenter forged on regardless.
Presenter: Well Boots, tell us a little bit about your band and line-up that people are going to hear today?
Boots Riley: Umm, well we’re a punk funk slash communist revolution band….
Presenter (confused and a little alarmed): Okay…
Boots Riley: …From Oakland California. And we make everybody dance while telling them about how we need to get rid of this system. How exploitation is the primary contradiction in capitalism and that if we want to express our power we’re going to have to be more radical in our actions. We’re going to have to be able to withhold our labour collectively to be able to demand and affect the changes that we need to make.
Presenter: Okay but people are going to hear from a whole line-up of bands today?
Boots: Not just us.
Presenter: Yeah, yeah.
In the history of Fox news – and what a stirling history that is – it's perhaps the most out-of-place interview ever staged.
The clip ends as quickly as it starts – one can only imagine the chaos in the control room, and the screaming in the ear-piece of the presenter.
Festival organiser, Kelly Flamos, tee-ed up the interview, something for which she was apparently later not thanked. According to spin.com, Flamos received a terse email from Fox, after it all went pear-shaped.
The Producers wrote:
I wanted to talk to you about this morning. We set the interview times because have to (sic) hit specific times with live television. I had to get rid of the interview when you guys did not show on time, and now I regret putting it back in.
FOX 8 was not the time or opportunity for Boots to go on his political rant. With his statements he not only hurt our station's credibility, but also the festival's. I was looking to do a fun interview and it turned into something entirely different. We will not be reaching out for any interviews in the future."
According to his Wikipedia entry, Boots, who identifies as a communist, is “the only known musical artist whose surveillance by intelligence agents has been exposed due to Wikileaks documents”.
Boots Riley is well known to Australian lefties – he was the keynote speaker in April this year at the successful (and annual) Marxism Conference in Melbourne.
By all accounts, Boots gave both a spirited speech, and a riveting performance later in the evening.
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