NEW YORK (AP) — An upcoming Fox News Channel special hosted by Sarah Palin is titled “Real American Stories.” But rapper-actor LL Cool J says his participation in the show was bogus. In response, the network has snipped him from the program.
In a Twitter posting late Tuesday, the entertainer wrote that “Fox lifted an old interview I gave in 2008 to someone else & are misrepresenting to the public in order to promote Sarah Palins Show. WOW.”
“Real American Stories,” which debuts Thursday at 10 p.m. EDT, is hosted by Palin, the former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate, who joined Fox News Channel as a regular contributor in January. The one-hour program is described by Fox News as “the first installment of a new series” that features “real-life tales of overcoming adversity throughout the American landscape.”
Fox News says the episode, which was not available for preview, will feature a Marine Medal of Honor recipient “who gave his life to save his comrades” and a wealthy stockbroker who helps underprivileged students pay for college.
Also listed as part of the show are country singer Toby Keith and former General Electric boss Jack Welch, as well as LL Cool J, who appeared among a number of video clips on the “Real American Stories” Web site Wednesday morning before being removed.
“Contrary to what was reported, LL Cool J was never scheduled to be a guest on ‘Real American Stories’ with Sarah Palin this week,” Rhett Usry, the artist’s spokesman, said in a statement on Wednesday. “The show had planned to use an interview from 2008 that was being repurposed without LL’s permission.
“This statement is not a reflection of any feelings LL has toward Fox News or Ms. Palin, whom he has never met, rather a clarification of what we have seen published in the media.”
Fox News Channel did not respond to numerous calls and e-mails from The Associated Press inquiring about the status of the segment with LL Cool J, who was born James Todd Smith.
But in a statement released to other media outlets, the network said: “‘Real American Stories’ features uplifting tales about overcoming adversity and we believe Mr. Smith’s interview fits that criteria. However, as it appears that Mr. Smith does not want to be associated with a program that could serve as an inspiration to others, we are cutting his interview from the special and wish him the best with his fledgling acting career.”
Credits for the 42-year-old actor include a starring role in the hit CBS freshman series “NCIS: Los Angeles,” as well as several films such as “Last Holiday” and “S.W.A.T.”
It is unclear when or if future editions of “Real American Stories” will appear on Fox News. Thursday’s airing pre-empts “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren.”
Palin’s ongoing relationship with Fox News Channel as a host and news analyst accounts for only part of her television activities. Last week, the TLC cable network announced “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” an eight-part series about Palin’s home state that is set to start production this summer.