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Steve Levitan, Paul Feig Criticize Fox Over Child-Separation News Coverage

“Modern Family” co-creator Steve Levitan revised his stance Tuesday after saying he would leave Fox for its news division’s support of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

“I have great respect and admiration for Dana Walden, Gary Newman, Peter Rice, and everyone at 20th Century Fox Studios who have all treated me so well for almost 2 decades,” Levitan said in a statement provided by his agent, UTA’s Jay Sures. “For now, I will take some time to see where those people land, and at that point, make a decision about my future.”

A little more than an hour earlier, Levitan had publicly declared his intention to leave his longtime home at 20th Century Fox Television.

“@FoxNew’s 23-hour-a-day support of the NRA, conspiracy theories and Trump’s lies gets harder to swallow every day as I drive onto that lot to make a show about inclusion,” Levitan wrote on Twitter Tuesday. “I look forward to seeing #ModernFamily through to the end and then, sale or no sale, setting up shop elsewhere.”

On Monday night, Levitan had tweeted that he was “disgusted” to work at Fox.

Levitan is under an overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television that is set to expire in 2019. His most recent comments followed a tweet by filmmaker Paul Feig, who wrote Tuesday that he “cannot condone” Fox News’ supportive attitude toward new policies that have led to nearly 2,000 children being separated from their families by immigration officials in the last six weeks.

“I have made two films for 20th Century Fox and love the people in the movie and TV divisions,” Feig wrote. “But I too cannot condone the support their news division promotes toward the immoral and abusive policies and actions taken by this current administration toward immigrant children.”

Feig’s condemnation of the company behind 2013’s “The Heat” and 2015’s “Spy,” both of which he directed for 20th Century Fox, adds to the mounting criticism being directed at the film studio’s corporate parent for the way that cable channel Fox News has handled coverage of the child-separation policy aggressively pursued by the Trump administration. On Sunday, “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane wrote on Twitter that he was “embarrassed to work for” the company that employed Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Filmmaker Judd Apatow, a sometimes-collaborator of Feig’s, on Monday called for more Fox talent to step forward and put pressure on the company. “Where are the Fox stars and executives speaking up?!” Apatow wrote. “Imagine if it was your kids. Who has a movie, TV show, sporting event, news show at Fox? How can you remain silent when they promote these policies?”

Later Monday, Levitan wrote on Twitter, “Let me officially join @SethMacFarlane in saying I’m disgusted to work at a company that has anything whatsoever to do with @FoxNews. This bulls— is the opposite of what #ModernFamily stands for.”

Levitan was responding to a tweet quoting Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who on Monday night compared U.S. detention centers for children separated from their families at the border to “summer camps [or] boarding schools.”

Levitan and MacFarlane are under overall deals with 20th Century Fox Television. A representative for the TV studio declined to comment Tuesday.

The studio is caught in a state of limbo as the Walt Disney Co. and Comcast compete purchase the bulk of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment businesses — a process that is expected to drag on following Comcast’s $65 billion all cash offer last week for the Fox assets. Disney, which last year struck an agreement with to purchase most of the Rupert Murdoch-led Fox for $52.4 billion, believed to be mulling a counter-offer. Meanwhile some key talent has begun to trickle away from Fox, most notably television producer Ryan Murphy, who earlier this year signed nine-figure deal with Netflix.

The cast of “Modern Family” has one season remaining on an extension signed last year. Winner of multiple Primetime Emmy Awards and consistently one of television’s highest rated comedies, the show has aired for nine seasons on ABC.

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