Fox News Co-President Bill Shine resigned, marking another high-profile departure amid a scandal over the network’s handling of sexual harassment allegations against top executives.
Shine, who hadn’t been publicly accused of sexual harassment, is being replaced by Suzanne Scott as president of programming and Jay Wallace as president of news, Fox News said in a statement. His co-president, Jack Abernethy, remains in that position.
Andrea Tantaros, a former Fox host, has claimed in a lawsuit that Shine knew of former network chairman Roger Ailes’s alleged misconduct and ignored it. Shine has denied the claim.
With tensions simmering behind the scenes, Fox News replaced Shine with two other seasoned Fox News executives, Scott and Wallace. Sean Hannity is staying with the network after throwing his support last week behind Shine, a longtime colleague who he described as innocent.
“I pray this is NOT true because if it is, that’s the total end of the FNC as we know it,” Hannity tweeted then about Shine’s possible departure. A Fox News spokesperson confirmed Monday Hannity will remain with the channel.
Shine, a two-decade veteran of Fox News, had been guiding the network’s day-to-day operations as the sexual-harassment scandal unfolded. Ailes was replaced in August as chairman of Fox News by Rupert Murdoch, who’s also the chairman and controlling shareholder of parent company 21st Century Fox Inc. Shine and Abernethy were named co-presidents in that shakeup.
Even as the backstage drama has unfolded, Fox News has maintained its lead in the ratings over CNN and MSNBC, with newer faces such as Tucker Carlson.
“I know Bill was respected and liked by everybody at Fox News,” Murdoch said in a memo to employees Monday. “We will all miss him.”
Shine joined Fox News in 1996 as the producer of “Hannity & Colmes” and rose through the ranks to oversee the network’s entire programming slate, including Hannity’s eventual transition to become a solo host. Hannity now regularly wins the ratings for his slot at 10 p.m. EST time.
Eleven current and former Fox News employees filed a class-action race-bias lawsuit against Fox last week. And CNN reported last week that a federal investigation into financial settlements with accusers has been widened to include the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which has jurisdiction over mail-fraud cases. Fox declined to comment.
Another Fox News host, Jesse Watters, has been defending himself this week from critics who say a comment he made on air about Ivanka Trump was inappropriate. Watters said he was misinterpreted. The host, whose show “The Five” just moved to prime time this week after O’Reilly’s departure, said Wednesday he’s on vacation for the rest of the week. Watters remains with the network, a Fox News spokesperson said Monday.
~~ Bloomberg News