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standing by her

Fox News insists Laura Ingraham didn't defend a white supremacist's 'despicable actions' on her show

Fox News has broken its silence about Laura Ingraham's latest controversy.

Ingraham sparked outrage on her Thursday show when she bemoaned white supremacist Paul Nehlen's social media ban, putting a photo of him on screen with a group of people she labeled as "prominent voices censored by social media."

Although Ingraham didn't mention Nehlen by name, she said in reference to the graphic he was included on, "these are some of the people [Facebook has] shunned ... it's people who believe in border enforcement, people who believe in national sovereignty." Nehlen has been condemned by Democrats and Republicans for his racist and anti-Semitic statements, with even Breitbart News cutting ties with him. Other extremists like Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos were included on the graphic.

Fox News in a statement on Friday stood behind Ingraham, insisting she was not actually defending Nehlen.

“It is obscene to suggest that Laura Ingraham was defending Paul Nehlen's despicable actions especially when some of the names on the graphic were pulled from an Associated Press report on best known political extremists banned from Facebook,” Fox News said in a statement, Variety reports. “Anyone who watches Laura’s show knows that she is a fierce protector of freedom of speech and the intent of the segment was to highlight the growing trend of unilateral censorship in America."

Fox News seems to be referencing an Associated Press report about Facebook banning several "dangerous individuals," including Nehlen, although a number of people mentioned in the report were not included on Ingraham's graphic.

Ingraham had been slammed on Friday for promoting Nehlen and seeming to come to his defense with the segment, with the Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeting that Fox News must "do better."