The billionaire owner of Fox News is facing outrage from female staff after dismissing the company’s sexual harassment scandal as “nonsense,” The Huffington Post reported Friday.
Ten current and former female on-air talent at the network spoke to HuffPost anonymously for the story.
“I have had to put up with a hostile work environment for years, and now I’m told that it doesn’t exist by a man who doesn’t have to walk these halls every day?” one staffer wondered. “I’m hungry for justice.”
“Hey Rupert – stop with the lies or we’ll go public with the truth,” one former on-air talent warned. “All of it. Including about the talent and executives you still employ who have harassed us and don’t give a damn about workplace respect – only money”
“How much will it take before you actually start caring about your female employees?” she asked. “Is your 52 billion enough? Are we really going to clean house now?”
Earlier Friday, Vanity Fair correspondent Gabriel Sherman told MSNBC he was hearing that little had changed at the network.
“That blasé attitude, the ‘hear no evil, see no evil’ attitude, is this permissive culture that allowed this toxic workplace at Fox News to fester for so long,” Sherman said. “I think women are feeling terrified that the company has not fully cleaned up.”
HuffPost heard similar complaints.
“Did this man [Murdoch] just forget the 100 million dollars his company had to pay in settlements for terrible men behaving badly?” a current Fox news host wondered. “He now says it was a bit of ‘flirting’ and an issue related to the fact that Fox News has conservative hosts? Sexual harassment has nothing to do with politics. Many of us are conservative and want the truth to come out. Those of us who still work at Fox News have anxiety issues every time we see another woman coming forward with stories we have all lived through but have never shared.”
“You cannot rewrite history, Mr. Murdoch. The problem was not only with your chief executive,” former Fox News commentator Tamara Holder noted. “For example, one of your former executives trapped me in his office, pulled-out his penis and shoved my head on it. That’s not ‘nonsense.’ That’s criminal.”
Murdoch’s comments were perceived as grating enough that they may prompt other women to come forward with more #MeToo stories about Fox News.
“I’m contacting a lawyer tomorrow,” said one Fox News host. “I’m sick of this shit.”
A 21st Century Fox spokesperson told Raw Story: “Rupert never characterized the sexual harassment matters at FOX News as ‘nonsense.’ Rather, he 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. 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.”