FACT CHECK: Trump is not trying to ban gay-themed TV shows like ‘Empire’

FACT CHECK: Trump is not trying to ban gay-themed TV shows like ‘Empire’
A scene from "Empire," which explores gay themes.Photo: Empire

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump never said he wanted to ban shows with gay-themed content from television, including Fox’s “Empire,” despite the claims of a widely shared story quoting him in a purported interview with Fox News. The network said the president never made such a statement, nor does he have the authority to ban programming.

The story posted on several sites, including and, cites a supposed interview Trump conducted with Fox News earlier this month in which he declared that he would ban “Empire” as part of a two-year effort “to remove all shows that have too much gay activity.” The story also claims Trump used a derogatory slur for gay people in the interview.

A spokesperson for Fox News confirms that Trump never made such remarks on their air.

The Fox network says no one from the administration has sought to interfere with “Empire” or any other of their shows.

The president can use the bully pulpit to encourage or discourage certain kinds of entertainment, but he cannot ban it because of First Amendment freedom of speech guarantees.

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