Fox News co-president Bill Shine has emerged as a household name amid on-going turmoil at the network, on the heels of founding CEO Roger Ailes and host Bill O’Reilly getting ousted over sexual harassment allegations.
Shine, an Ailes protégé, has been with Fox News for 20 years. He is regarded as a key member of the old regime at Fox News and was promoted to co-president, alongside Jack Abernethy, last year when Ailes stepped down. However, he is currently a defendant in a federal lawsuit filed by former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros and the network needs to be careful regarding anyone with ties to sexual harassment allegations with all the negative attention it has received.
The Hollywood Reporter on Friday cited two anonymous sources that Fox News parent 21st Century Fox have “quietly put out feelers” for a Shine replacement with a preference that the new boss be a woman.
TheWrap asked a 21st Century Fox spokesman directly if Fox News is looking to replace Shine with a female and the response was noteworthy.
“Declining comment,” is all the 21st Century Fox spokesperson responded. (Typically, major companies quickly deny allegations that any top executive’s are getting the boot — when the rumors aren’t true.)
21st Century Fox ignored TheWrap’s request for additional comment, while Fox News directed us to 21st Century Fox.
Shine recently asked Rupert Murdoch’s sons to release a statement in support of him after the network’s star Bill O’Reilly was fired over sexual harassment allegations, but they declined, according to a report published Thursday by New York Magazine’s Gabe Sherman.
Sherman, who has been out in front of all scandal-related Fox News drama for years, reported that Shine has privately complained that the senior Murdoch “isn’t fighting for him” in the press. Rupert’s sons, James and Lachlan, opted not to issue a public statement defending Shine, according to Sherman who cited anonymous sources.
21st Century Fox ignored TheWrap’s numerous requests for comment on the matter.
“By refusing to back Shine at this tumultuous moment for the network, the Murdochs may finally be signaling that they’re prepared to make the sweeping management changes they’ve so far resisted after forcing out CEO Roger Ailes last summer,” Sherman wrote.
Ailes stepped down in disgrace last year after Gretchen Carlson accused him of sexual harassment and numerous women came forward with similar claims. O’Reilly was fired last week after 16 years of dominating the cable news industry because of similar allegations.
Sherman continued: “Shine’s continued leadership has angered many Fox News employees, especially women, who view him as a product of the misogynistic Ailes culture… Sources say there are multiple reasons Rupert Murdoch hasn’t replaced Shine… There’s also the question that Shine may simply know too much about Fox News’ inner workings at a time when federal prosecutors are investigating the network.”
At least one prominent Fox News employee has Shine’s back. Sean Hannity took to Twitter on Thursday to declare that is Sherman’s report is true, it’s “the total end of the FNC as we know it.”
Hannity went on to accuse a Fox News executive of “trying to get an innocent person fired” and started a hashtag to support Shine.
Somebody HIGH UP AND INSIDE FNC is trying to get an innocent person fired. And Gabe I KNOW WHO it is. Best Sean https://t.co/W3BJ2wjzRD
Despite Hannity’s support, it would make sense that 21st Century Fox would want to eliminate anyone with ties to Ailes and the ongoing harassment claims as the company has publicly said the culture needs to change.
In a lawsuit filed last year, Tantaros claimed she tried to discuss sexual harassment with Shine, but to no avail. According to the suit, Shine told Tantaros that she should not “fight this” and that she “needed to let this one go.”
Tantaros’ lawsuit stated, “Shine’s inexplicable elevation sends the message that it will be ‘business as usual’ at Fox News when it comes to the treatment of women.” A more recent lawsuit by Tantaros accuses Fox News of hacking her personal computer and using “sock puppet” social media accounts to harass her online. Shine is a defendant listed on the suit.
Shine has denied all of Tantaros’ claims.
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