High school student Micheal Brown made headlines last week for a remarkable feat: He was accepted by all 20 colleges he applied to, and each institution awarded him a full scholarship to boot.
Video of Brown, screaming with excitement as he learned of his acceptances surrounded by family and friends, went viral. Four Ivy League institutions ― Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania ― want him, as do Stanford, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins and 11 more top-rated colleges.
MUST SEE VIDEO! This is what it looks like when a hard working, 3rd Ward student gets accepted to his dream college. BTW... he was accepted to 20! Including 4 #IvyLeagues. Story coming up @ 10 on #KHOU11 #DREAMS #Houston #Harvard #Princeton #Yale #FeelGood pic.twitter.com/Lz5kY3G1CO— Lauren Talarico (@KHOULauren) March 30, 2018
While the exceptional senior, who earned a 4.68 GPA at Lamar High School in Houston was praised by many ― from reporters to readers to President Bill Clinton ― a local news team in Washington has come under fire for harshly criticizing the student.
On Fox 5 DC last week, morning co-anchor Holly Morris and contributor Sarah Fraser laid into Brown for applying to 20 schools, calling his decision to do so “obnoxious” and suggesting he was showing off.
“It’s a little ridiculous that this kid applied to 20, taking away a spot and basically waitlisting another kid,” Fraser said.
“I’m urging my kids not to,” co-anchor Allison Seymour said in an aside.
“It’s a little obnoxious because you can only go to one, you can only take one full ride, and you are taking a spot from someone else who worked really hard,” Morris said.
The backlash was swift and has grown over the past week as a Now This video criticizing the Fox 5 segment went viral.
Here's a new one: Local Fox anchors criticized this Black teen for working TOO hard pic.twitter.com/sIwyciCC9j— NowThis (@nowthisnews) April 9, 2018
Twitters users are laying into the journalists, saying their comments seemed racially motivated.
This doesn’t “take a space or a scholarship” away from ANYONE.— Aditya Sood (@adityasood) April 9, 2018
Yale isn’t going to suddenly enroll only 1,499 freshmen or only give $4,950,000 in financial aid if this kid goes to Stanford instead.
This is straight up, poorly coded, bigotry. https://t.co/ySdmNbml1x
Michael Brown, I wish you would’ve applied to 30 schools. Keep shining- you’re an inspiration to black and brown kids all over. Perhaps you could call it a representation of the fact so many of us have to work twice as hard to get half of what others get... https://t.co/VOU3AjijcW— Don Champion (@DonChampionTV) April 9, 2018
Check out @FoxNews anchors call a young black man, Michael Brown, “obnoxious” for applying to and getting accepted with full scholarships to 20 colleges.— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) April 5, 2018
Either we’re “lazy” and need to “work hard,” or we’re “obnoxious” when we excel for working hard.#Racist#SitDownAndShutUp pic.twitter.com/QWGPVVcdpD
So to sum up: Ferguson's Michael Brown who was murdered by the cop was a thug who wasn’t trying to do anything with his life so he deserved to die. THIS Michael Brown who applied to 20 colleges/universities and got full rides, is "obnoxious" for doing too much with his life. https://t.co/YXPXWAPrYv— Daryle L. Jenkins (@DLamontJenkins) April 5, 2018
Except when you do “work harder,” expect Alice&Seymour @Fox5DCAllison— Miah Ed.D (@dst6n01) April 7, 2018
Holly Maurice @HollyLiveFox5DC &
Sarah Fraser @heyfrase on @fox5dc using their morning airtime calling you “obnoxious” for being a hard working black student & getting into multiple prestigious colleges...🙄
shame on these news anchors. he worked his entire life to achieve the impossible and instead of celebrating this extraordinary achievement they chose to call it ridiculous. Congratulations Michael Brown, the world needs more people like you - https://t.co/uXkhSwfTea— Casey Neistat (@CaseyNeistat) April 9, 2018
Shoutout Michael Brown, congrats getting into all 20 schools bud. You didn’t take any body else’s spot away, you earned your own— #SaveTheCrew (@garrettbinger) April 9, 2018
In response to the backlash, Fraser tweeted an apology to Brown on Saturday, saying she learned a “valuable lesson.” Brown tweeted that he accepted her apology.
Bishop Talbert - I am sorry. I’m sorry to Michael b. I truly had no malice when I set this story up, we wanted to ask is 20 schools too much? But I see now that was petty. Michael is awesome and I have learned a lesson.— Sarah Fraser (@heyfrase) April 7, 2018
Thank you for your apology. I appreciate it and accept it.— Micheal Brown (@mbreezy101) April 7, 2018
Morris maintained that she was criticizing the act of applying to 20 schools, not Brown himself. She also said she would have had the same response if the student were white.
I just believe in a more targeted search. I think the common ap has changed the game and makes it too easy to apply to too many schools. Has nothing to do with privilege. Just my opinion. We can disagree... that’s ok. https://t.co/JsGsXAGTmV— Holly Morris (@HollyLiveFox5DC) April 3, 2018
I also said he is an amazing young man. This is not a racial issue. I would have the exact same opinion if the boy was white. https://t.co/gq8Edty0s8— Holly Morris (@HollyLiveFox5DC) April 4, 2018
Brown said he had a Skype interview with Morris but has asked the station not to air it since the anchor has still not apologized.
This morning, I had a respectful Skype interview with @HollyLiveFox5DC , though I did not get an apology during the interview. I won't allow the interview to air until @fox5dc provides me with a public apology. Where's the #humandecency?— Micheal Brown (@mbreezy101) April 6, 2018
Fox 5 DC, Morris, Seymour and Brown did not respond to HuffPost’s requests for comment.
Clarification: Language in this story has been amended to no longer indicate the anchors worked for the Fox News cable network.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.