Fox News issued an apology Saturday for initially publishing a false story in July that claimed the family of fallen Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee was forced to pay $60,000 to transport her remains from California to Arlington National Cemetery.
“The now unpublished story has been addressed internally and we sincerely apologize to the Gee family,” Fox News said in a statement to Military.com and other news outlets.
According to Military.com, the Marine Corps confronted Fox News regarding the false story in July. Rep. Cory Mills (R-Fla.) initially informed Fox News that Gee’s Gold Star family was required to pay $60,000 to have the fallen Marine’s remains transported from California to Arlington National Cemetery.
At the time, Fox News amplified the congressman’s claims, blasting the Biden administration and the Department of Defense for forcing a gold star family to pay $60,000 to transport the remains of one of the 13 service members who were killed during the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal in 2021.
When information was released that showed that the gold star family did not have to pay for the transportation of Gee’s remains and the story was determined to be false, Fox News deleted the story; however, the news outlet did not issue a correction or release a public acknowledgment of its error.
As a result, Military.com published a story that highlighted the efforts of the Marine Corps to persuade Fox News to amend the false story in July. One email obtained by Military.com contained a scathing rebuke from Maj. James Stenger, Marine Corps spokesperson, following an attempt by Fox News to change the original headline and contents of the story.
“This headline correction is still misleading and your story is still false,” Stenger said. “Using the grief of a family member of a fallen Marine to score cheap clickbait points is disgusting.”
While Fox News did not comment on the story, which contained emails Military.com obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request, Fox News released an apology on Saturday.
After the original story was determined to be inaccurate, Mills released a statement, saying, “I understand the family of Sgt. Nicole Gee was, in their time of grief, confused regarding transportation proceedings.”
He added, “I am thankful that Honoring Our Fallen was able to assist the family and that the DoD was able to provide clarification on this matter.”
Gee’s mother-in-law, Christy Shamblin, also released an apology soon after the publication of the original story.
“At the time, I just understood we would be responsible for the cost of her transportation to Arlington,” she told Military.com a few days after the initial Fox story. “I now understand there is a reimbursement process for this.”