Fox News Host Addresses Tasteless Joke About Ray Rice Assault After Garnering Backlash (VIDEO)

Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice | (Photo: Reuters/Sean Gardner)

A Fox News host was forced to explain himself after making light of the Ray Rice assault incident on Monday.

Brian Kilmeade, who co-hosts "Fox & Friends," made a tasteless joke about Rice, 27, assaulting his wife Janay in an elevator and as expected, critics are outraged.

The veteran Fox host and his co-hosts, Steve Doocy and Anna Kooiman, were discussing the Rice incident after graphic footage of the February assault surfaced online yesterday. In the video, the disgraced NFL player, who was subsequently cut by the Baltimore Ravens, is seen knocking out his then-fiance and then kicking her limb body.

The hosts made reference to other famous couples like Chris Brown and Rihanna, who have been embroiled in physical altercations and Kilmeade decided to joke about the matter.

"I think the message is take the stairs," he quipped prompting giggles from his co-hosts.

The joke prompted backlash with critics on social media blasting Kilmeade for turning the disturbing incident into a laughing matter. He addressed the criticism on Tuesday.

"Comments we made during this story yesterday made some feel like we were taking the situation too lightly," Kilmeade said on the show. "We are not, we were not. Domestic violence is a very serious issue to us, I can assure you."

The Rice controversy sparked widespread debates about domestic violence as it applies to the NFL yesterday following his suspension from the NFL.

In March, Rice was indicted by a grand jury for third-degree aggravated assault relating to the incident even though Janay refused to testify against him.

The charges will likely be dropped if he completes a pre-trial intervention program, which the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office agreed to.

In July, Rice was suspended for the first two games of the 2014 NFL season over the incident. He has now been suspended indefinitely.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell later announced a policy change to the NFL for players who commit acts of domestic violence. They are now subject to longer suspensions.

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