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Caitlyn Jenner, the Incredible Disappearing Fox News Pundit

Reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, currently the only trans woman with a paid cable news deal, has been absent from Fox News airwaves for nearly half a year—and it’s not exactly clear why.

In March 2022, Fox News announced to great fanfare that it hired Jenner, arguably the most recognizable transgender person in the world, as an on-air contributor. “Caitlyn’s story is an inspiration to us all,” Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott boasted at the time. “She is a trailblazer in the LGBTQ+ community and her illustrious career spans a variety of fields that will be a tremendous asset for our audience.”

From the time she was hired through mid-August 2023, Jenner appeared on Fox News at least 34 times, according to an analysis by Media Matters for America. Over half of those appearances were on midday “hard news” shows such as America Reports and The Story with Martha MacCallum, but she also popped up several times on conservative primetime opinion programs such as Hannity. Jenner even appeared twice on the panel of Greg Gutfeld’s late-night right-wing “comedy” show.

However, those appearances completely dried up last summer and she hasn’t shown up on the network since an Aug. 14 interview on Fox News @ Night. That appearance focused entirely on Donald Trump’s Georgia indictment over his attempts to overturn the 2020 election, with Jenner there to talk about the fact that she had just recently played golf with the disgraced ex-president.

“President Trump, I love being around him. He is the nicest. He is a gentleman. He is so nice to people,” Jenner gushed about the man she once blasted for banning trans soldiers from the military.

As with many of her other appearances as a contributor, Jenner went on some long-winded tangents parroting Trumpian talking points, prompting the anchor to refocus her on the topic at hand. But nothing stood out as a potential reason for Fox to stop inviting her on air.

Confider reached out to Jenner’s management to ask why she had not appeared on Fox in nearly half a year, and to clarify whether she was still under contract with the network. While Jenner’s reps never responded, a Fox News spokesperson soon contacted Confider to state that the TV personality remains in “excellent standing” as an on-air contributor.

Jenner’s bio on Fox News’ digital site boasts she has “used her platform as the most famous transgender woman in the world to better the lives of the trans community,” which includes promoting equality and combating discrimination through her self-named foundation.

While the conservative cable giant praised Jenner as a “trailblazer in the LGBTQ+ community,” the network’s hiring of the Olympic champion came amid the network’s full-throated embrace of transphobic commentary. (Not to mention the network’s own incredibly juvenile coverage of Jenner’s transition years prior.) As the GOP ramped up anti-trans legislation across the country at the time, Fox News hosts followed suit by warning about “groomers” trying to “sexualize our children” with their “progressive LGBT agenda.”

Jenner, however, appeared to fit right in despite the network’s rampant anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, describing herself as “anti-woke” while generally defending the GOP’s push to restrict trans and gay rights. Having already become a fixture on the network during her doomed conservative California gubernatorial bid, Jenner soon found herself making regularly paid Fox News appearances in which she railed against trans women participating in female sports.

While Jenner vanished from Fox News airwaves, she has sat down on other networks and podcasts. Last month, she made waves in an interview with Monty Python legend John Cleese for Britain’s wannabe Fox News channel GB News, reversing course on her previous stance and saying transgender women aren’t really women.

And earlier this month, responding to one-time I Am Cait co-star Candis Cayne’s declaration that she could no longer be friends with “Fox News cult member” Jenner, a Jenner spokesperson invoked the gold medalist’s relationship with the network. “Caitlyn is proud of her ongoing contract as a Fox News contributor—the only network to employ an openly trans contributor,” the spokesperson said. “She reaches the largest cable news audience, bringing a level headed perspective, on protecting women’s sports.”

Theoretically, the overloaded news cycle over the past few months—from the Israel-Hamas war to the ongoing GOP presidential primary—could have crowded out Jenner, whose punditry mostly focuses on trans issues and women’s sports.

But according to Media Matters’ internal database of weekday cable news segments, at least 265 segments mentioning trans issues have aired on weekday Fox News programming since Jenner’s last appearance. On top of that, there have been at least 98 weekday segments mentioning trans sports or trans athletes since Aug. 14.

Additionally, the network has frequently turned to former NCAA swimmer turned anti-trans activist Riley Gaines to talk about her push to ban trans athletes from participating in female sports and proposed restrictions on gender-affirming care. Since Jenner’s last appearance, Gaines—who now hosts a podcast on the Fox-owned conservative sports site Outkick—has been on Fox News and Fox Business at least 22 times.

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