The TV news segment, Fox Business, is facing intense criticism after airing a segment in which host Maria Bartiromo touted several “fashion forward” bulletproof backpacks as a part of back-to-school shopping. The segment begins with La Roux’s song “Bulletproof” playing before Bartiromo shows off several colorful backpacks that look like any other backpacks kids might wear to school, except these are meant to protect children in case of a shooting.
Bartiromo was joined by Carolina Ballesteros Casas, a rep for MC Armor, the company that is behind the line of protective backpacks. After the two gushed over a few of the backpacks, Bartiromo asked Casas why the backpacks were only available in the United States. Casas offered up a grim reply that served as a stark reminder of why the product exists in the first place.
“In the U.S., sadly, there are the guns,” Casas replies. “Everybody can have a gun. So, here, kids need to be protected, and we have the fact that there are some school issues, so we need to bring this to the United States.”
— Media Matters (@mmfa) August 20, 2018
The two then spoke about the lightness of the backpacks, with Bartiromo marveling at how the backpacks aren’t too heavy for kids despite being capable of blocking bullets. Casas explained that these backpacks, which Bartiromo described as “fashion forward” required specific materials since kids lack the muscle to wear traditional bulletproof materials.
Unsurprisingly, the segment was met with severe backlash, with critics claiming that the way the show made light of the horrific reality of school shootings was incredibly tone deaf. It is no secret that school shootings are a tragically common occurrence in America and one could argue that a product like this could make kids safer. In fairness Bartiromo also noted: “It’s incredible that this has come to this though, that we need bulletproof clothing.”
Still, many viewers felt this segment was in poor taste, as the show seemed to be exploiting the prominence of school shootings for profit.