When the head of your organization is ousted over repeated sexual harassment, and the biggest, most popular personality is also fired for serial sexual harassment, it’s clear that there is a problem with the culture. There are too many people at the top turning a blind eye. “It is what it is, whaddya gonna do?”
It probably does not come as a surprise, then, that more allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior are coming out — and will probably continue to come out — at Fox News, and that the only real way to put a stop to it is to do a thorough investigation and clean house. Beyond Ailes and O’Reilly, maybe they can start with Sean Hannity, the latest Fox anchor to be accused of sexual harassment.
Last Friday, former Fox News contributor Debbie Schlussel took to the Pat Campbell Show and alleged that Sean Hannity invited her back to his hotel room, twice, and when she rebuffed him, Schlussel was not asked back on the show.
“It was made clear to me that I didn’t go back to his hotel with him after. I got a very weird feeling about the whole thing, and I kind of knew I wouldn’t be back on his show. This kind of stuff is all over the place at Fox News and anything that has to do with Sean Hannity.”
Hannity denies the allegations, and even if he did ask her back to his hotel room, I doubt that he’d think he did anything wrong. “What? Since when did asking a woman on a date constitute sexual harassment,” he’d probably say, because at Fox News, this is the sort of behavior that is considered acceptable.
Just ask Steve Doocy. When Gretchen Carlson originally filed her sexual harassment lawsuit, all the attention was paid to Roger Ailes, while Carlson’s morning show co-anchor, Steve Doocy, seemed to get a free pass. Over on ThinkProgress, they’re resurrecting that forgotten sexual harassment scandal. ThinkProgress points to this section of Carlson’s complaint:
And if you need any proof of this form of sexual harassment, look no further than this collection of clips from Fox and Friends that ThinkProgress points to. This is what was going on ON AIR. Imagine how much worse it was behind the scenes:
Again, this is not only accepted, it’s part of the morning show banter. “Just sit there and look pretty in your short skirts, Gretchen. Let the men ignore climate science.”
Meanwhile, yet another former Fox News anchor, Alisyn Camerota, has come forward alleging sexual harassment against Roger Ailes. According to the NYTimes, when Camerota asked for more opportunities at Fox News, Ailes responded thusly:
‘Well, I would have to work with you — I would have to work with you really closely — and it may require us getting to know each other better, and that might have to happen away from here. And it might have to happen at a hotel. Do you know what I am saying?’”
Camerota — who now works at CNN — rejected his advances, as did Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson, but for every employee who has rejected sexual entreaties from Ailes, imagine how many agreed? Ailes probably wouldn’t have continued this sort of pursuit if it weren’t occasionally successful.
This is clearly not over. A culture of harassment doesn’t change overnight, not without a proper house cleaning. If the Murdochs want to change the culture, they need to start by getting rid of the people responsible for it.