It’s been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year-plus for Fox News Channel. Since the summer of 2016, accusations of rampant sexual harassment at the fair and balanced network have driven out first network founder Roger Ailes, then longtime star Bill O’Reilly, then Ailes successor Bill Shine.
Well, a fourth Fox News luminary may now be on the hot seat. In case you missed it, reports surfaced on Friday that longtime commentator Eric Bolling sexted lewd pictures to at least three of his female colleagues, and had also made staggeringly degrading remarks to them. Within 24 hours of this coming to light, Fox News suspended him indefinitely.
The first sign that something was afoot came on Saturday morning. Bolling had already taped this week’s edition of “Cashin’ In,” which closes out Fox News’ Saturday morning business-news block at 11 a.m. However, this Saturday morning, an extended block of “America’s News HQ” aired instead. Newshounds got a clip.
Later that afternoon, Yashar Ali of HuffPost, who initially broke the story about the lewd pictures, revealed that Bolling had been suspended.
Breaking: Per Fox News Spokesperson, Eric Bolling has been suspended. An investigation will be conducted by law firm Paul Weiss. https://t.co/CvQmYzfU4O
— Yashar Ali ? (@yashar) August 5, 2017
That spokesperson stated that Bolling had been taken off the air “pending the results of an investigation” by the law firm Paul, Weiss.
It’s not as if Fox News had a choice. The network is facing an investigation by the New York State Division of Human Rights into allegations that its response to sexual harassment has been inadequate at best. Keeping a guy on air who is suspected of sexting lewd pictures to his female coworkers wouldn’t exactly be the smartest thing to do under those circumstances.
Both Paul, Weiss and the Division of Human Rights investigators might want to have a chat with former Fox News contributor Caroline Heldman. Hours after Bolling’s suspension was announced, she took to Facebook to reveal that she’d been a target of Bolling’s boorish conduct. Heldman claimed that Bolling was brazen enough to harass her on-air, frequently calling her “Dr. McHottie,” among other things. She also recalled that a number of other female staffers had “similar experiences”–an indication that Fox News may have known what was happening and did nothing.
Predictably, Bolling vehemently denied any inappropriate behavior. His lawyer, Michael Bowe, says that his client has no memory of “such inappropriate communications” and denies ever sending them. He also vowed to “vigorously” fight the “false and defamatory accusations” against him.
Don’t count on Bolling being back on the air any time soon. In early July, Fox Business host Charles Payne was suspended for allegedly harassing fellow contributor Scottie Nell Hughes. Payne hasn’t returned to the air since.
If it does turn out that there’s something to this, it would be more than a little ironic. Bolling was a particularly scathing critic of Anthony Weiner’s numerous instances of sexting, calling him “a sick human being.” Now Bolling faces accusations of doing the same thing.
(featured image courtesy Bolling’s Facebook)