Fox Anchor After L’Italien ‘Publicity Stunt’ Booking: ‘Our Legal Team Is On It’

Sen. Barbara L'Italien appeared on Fox and Friends July 23 in place of intended guest Ann Kirkpatrick. (Screen capture)

Sen. Barbara L’Italien appeared on Fox and Friends July 23 in place of intended guest Ann Kirkpatrick. (Screen capture)

The plot thickens in the wake of Andover Sen. Barbara L’Italien’s surprise Monday morning appearance on the conservative Fox News program “Fox & Friends First.”

Booked by Fox News in place of Arizona congressional candidate Ann Kirkpatrick to defend her views on ICE, L’Italien used the unexpected opportunity to rail on President Donald J. Trump’s family separation policy.

“I’m here to speak directly to Donald Trump: I feel like what you’re doing at the border is wrong. As a mother of four, I’m appalled that we are separating kids from their parents is illegal and inhumane. I’m actually Barbara L’Italien. I’m a state senator representing a large immigrant community and running for Congress in Massachusetts,” L’Italien told hosts Jillian Mele and Rob Schmitt in the split-screen segment.

L’Italien’s segment was eventually terminated live on the air once the network realized the error. Reached for comment Monday, executive producer Desiree Dunne told WHAV her channel was duped by the democratic senator.

Dunne said the station was contacted by Joe Katz, who was Kirkpatrick’s representative on file with the network, about an appearance. While Katz did work for the Arizona candidate a decade ago, he now serves as L’Italien’s communications director.

Dunne alleges that Katz used Kirkpatrick-related media assets in an email about the appearance and that L’Italien “did not identify herself as anything other than Kirkpatrick until she was live on air, at which point we ended the interview.”

After the show Monday, Fox anchor Schmitt continued to make viewers aware of what he believed was a bait-and-switch—revealing that legal action wasn’t out of the question.

“Barbara’s team contacted us, pretending to be another democrat—and lied to pull off this publicity stunt. Our legal team is on it,” Schmitt tweeted Monday. “Her team pretended to be Kirkpatrick’s. And since they’re both no-name pols running for Congress who are same age, race, sex, it worked.”

Katz told WHAV the candidate—running to succeed Niki Tsongas to represent the 3rd district—was compelled to speak up for her constituents.

“Fox News is where you go when you want to talk to Donald Trump, and Barbara felt she had an obligation to her constituents to take advantage of that opportunity. But this would not have happened to an actual news station,” said Katz.