- Former Fox News personalities have spoken out against chairman Rupert Murdoch’s comments about harassment at the network.
- Fox argues that it has taken a number of steps to curb harassment in recent months.
Backlash continued to Fox News chairman Rupert Murdoch’s dismissal of sexual harassment cases at Fox News over the years as “largely political.”
Last week, Murdoch said in an interview that it was “nonsense” that the network was harmed by harassment allegations, adding that criticism to the network stemmed from opposition to its “conservative” bent.
“There was a problem with our chief executive, sort of, over the years, outside incidents,” Murdoch said. “Soon as we investigated it, it was out of the place in hours. Well, three or four days. And there’s been nothing else since then.”
Several current and former top Fox News on-air personalities were reportedly furious with Murdoch’s comments. In an interview on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” on Sunday, former Fox News personality Tamara Holder, who settled with Fox News after an executive allegedly tried to force her to perform oral sex on him, said Murdoch and Fox News “allowed abusive predators to prey on women who just wanted to work.”
“Fox News ruined people’s lives, he ruined my life,” Holder said, hypothesizing the network would probably sue her.
The former contributor laid out a number of places she believes Murdoch papered over harassment, pointing out that there were other top figures at the network like former host Bill O’Reilly who were pushed out following harassment allegations.
“There are people like Rupert Murdoch who continue to deny that we were abused, our careers were destroyed, and our lives were destroyed,” she said. “This is not political: This is people’s lives.”
In a statement last week, a 21st Century Fox spokesperson pushed back on the framing of Murdoch’s comments, saying Murdoch never characterized the sexual harassment matters at Fox News as nonsense, but “responded negatively to the suggestion that sexual harassment issues were an obstacle to the Company’s bid for the rest of Sky.”
“Under Rupert’s leadership and with his total support, the company exited Roger Ailes, compensated numerous women who were mistreated; trained virtually all of its employees; exited its biggest star; and hired a new head of HR,” the spokesperson said.
“By his actions, Rupert has made it abundantly clear that he understands that there were real problems at FOX News. Rupert values all of the hard-working colleagues at FOX News, and will continue to address these matters to ensure FOX News maintains its commitment to having a work environment based on the values of trust and respect.”
Fox has been one of a number of news networks whose stars and senior staff have been faced with harassment allegations.
NBC News and CBS News have also seen shakeups following the removal of top television personalities following revelations of harassment allegations.
And despite the turnover at the network and the lineup changes, Fox News managed to stay on top of the ratings leading in overall viewers and in advertisers coveted demographic of 25-54 year-olds.