Eric Bolling has become the latest Fox News personality to face sexual harassment allegations and an unsure future at the network.
Women’s mistreatment has become a hot topic for the conservative news outlet in recent years, with more and more reports that it’s a hostile workplace for women.
Another one bites the dust
Just a few months after the network was forced to fire Bill O’Reilly amidst sexual harassment allegations, another Fox News personality has been suspended after being accused of sending inappropriate text messages to colleagues at Fox.
Host Eric Bolling was suspended on Saturday, following a media report that he sent sexually inappropriate text messages to colleagues, marking the third high-profile harassment case to rock the conservative, highly rated cable news outlet.
Through his attorney, Bolling has denied the allegations, going on the offensive in his first statement in response.
“Mr. Bolling recalls no such inappropriate communications. Does not believe he sent any such communications. He will vigorously pursue his legal remedies for any false and defamatory accusations that are made,” said attorney Michael J. Bowe.
Bowe also added that “the anonymous, uncorroborated claims are untrue and terribly unfair. We intend to fully cooperate with the investigation so that it can be concluded and Eric can return to work as quickly as possible.”
A report on the Fox News website referred only to “allegations of inappropriate behavior.”
“Eric Bolling has been suspended pending the results of an investigation, which is currently underway,” it read.
The Huffington Post said it talked to at least a dozen sources who said the 54-year-old author and panelist on the ‘Fox News Specialists’ sent an unsolicited photo of male genitalia via text message to at least two colleagues at Fox Business and one colleague at Fox News several years ago on separate occasions.
Not goof list, at all
Fox News, with a conservative bent associated with Republican Party politics, has led most ratings for U.S. cable news for years but has been unsettled by reports that it has been a hostile workplace for women.
In recent years, Fox News has been in the spotlight due to sexual harassment allegations by their staff. Bolling being the third in getting suspended.
Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes resigned last year after former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit accusing him of sexual harassment.
Multiple former and current Fox News hosts later made similar claims. Ailes died in May at the age of 77 after a fall in his home.
Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of Twenty-First Century Fox, wrote at the time that the company was committed to “fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect.”
Longtime anchor Bill O’Reilly was forced to leave the network in April after it came to light that he had settled multiple sexual harassment lawsuits. Many of his show’s sponsors refused to advertise on the popular program, ‘The O’Reilly Factor’.
Fox Business host Charles Payne has been suspended since last month as the company investigates sexual harassment allegations made against him.
The woman who lodged the complaint has appeared on Fox Business and Fox News as a political analyst. Payne has admitted to having an extramarital affair with her from 2013 to 2016.
Although Payne apologized to his wife and children for his actions, he has denied he sexually harassed anyone.
Hostile work environment
Fox News’ mistreatment of women has been a central theme for the network over the last few years. O’Reilly and former CEO Roger Ailes departing the network with a trail of allegations behind them.
However, Fox has rejected the notion the company has a problem. A spokesperson released a statement on May 2017 claiming they are committed to weeding out discrimination.
“We have consistently demonstrated that the Company is committed to a diverse workplace that is free from all forms of discrimination,” reads the statement.
“Takes any complaint of discrimination seriously, and in these particular matters took prompt, effective and, where necessary, strong remedial action.”
Variety reports that Fox News is attempting to drain their own problematic swamp by promoting more female executives and expanding their HR outreach efforts.
Many more women should have been in senior roles, and human resources should already have been robust. Especially in a channel that’s more than twenty years old and lost many millions of dollars in settlements over discriminatory and harassing behavior.
But women’s issues aren’t the only problem at Fox. Multiple employees banded together early in 2017 to file a racial discrimination suit against the network.
Among other charges, the lawsuit claims black Fox employees were forced to arm wrestle their white colleagues.