Say it isn't so: Fox News wracked by new potential sex scandal
The dominoes continue to fall at the Fox News channel (FNC). Last month, popular Fox Business channel host and Fox News channel occasional anchor and guest Charles Payne was suspended after allegations that he sexually harassed a frequent female guest on FNC with whom he admitted to having had a sexual relationship. A Fox News spokesperson confirmed last week that Payne remains on suspension.
Now it is Eric Bolling who is the target:
On Friday evening, HuffPo, in an article subsequently distributed widely by Yahoo News, reported that rising star FNC host and anchor Eric Bolling "Sent Unsolicited Lewd Text Messages To Colleagues, Sources Say."
Eric Bolling, a longtime Fox News host, sent an unsolicited photo of male genitalia via text message to at least two colleagues at Fox Business and one colleague at Fox News, a dozen sources told HuffPost.
Recipients of the photo confirmed its contents to HuffPost, which is not revealing their identities. The women, who are Bolling's current and former Fox colleagues, concluded the message was from him because they recognized his number from previous work-related and informal interactions.The messages were sent several years ago, on separate occasions.
The women did not solicit the messages, which they told colleagues were deeply upsetting and offensive. One of the recipients said that when she replied to Bolling via text, telling him never to send her such photos again, he did not respond. Four people, outside of the recipients, confirmed to HuffPost they'd seen the photo, and eight others said the recipients had spoken to them about it.
For this story, HuffPost spoke to 14 sources in and out of Fox News and Fox Business, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity either because they currently work at the networks and aren't allowed to speak to members of the press without prior authorization or because they have confidentiality agreements with Fox News and its parent company 21st Century Fox.
The author of the story, Yashar Ali, also writes for Mother Jones, New York Magazine, and other leftist publications, according to his Twitter account.
A box that appears when one searches his name at Google says, "He served as co-chair of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign." This January 24, 2017 article by Jeffrey Lord at The American Spectator was also returned when searching "Yashar Ali": "Is Daily Beast Contributor Yashar Ali Crazy – Or Sex Obsessed?"
In any case, the published accusations against Bolling are troubling. Ali's article cites the response of an FNC representative when asked for comment: "A Fox spokesperson said, 'We were just informed of this and plan to investigate the matter.'"
During the past year, some of the top people at Fox News, both executives and on-air talent, have been embroiled in accusations of harassment. Fox News channel's co-founder, chairman, and CEO, the late Roger Ailes, denied the accusations unto his death, but he was ousted one year ago, followed by his deputy, Bill Shine, nine months later, while FNC's #1 on-air talent, Bill O'Reilly, was fired on April 19.
The Fox News channel powerhouse schedule has never quite recovered from the ensuing chaos. Bolling, who achieved prominence as a co-host of The Five between 2011 and 2017, was re-assigned as a co-host of FNC's new 5 P.M. E.T. program The Specialists last May when The Five moved to its new prime-time slot without him. The Five, meanwhile, a consistent ratings winner at 5 P.M., has been struggling at 9 P.M. E.T. against stiff competition from Rachel Maddow at MSNBC.
Ali's story cites the response of Bolling's lawyer, Michael J. Bowe, to the allegations: "Mr. Bolling recalls no such inappropriate communications, does not believe he sent any such communications, and will vigorously pursue his legal remedies for any false and defamatory accusations that are made."
Bolling is a former commodities trader who has worked for Fox since 2007. Five weeks ago, his book The Swamp: Washington's Murky Pool of Corruption and Cronyism and How Trump Can Drain It, was released. It has been reported that Bolling is eyeing the possibility of running for the U.S. Senate from New Jersey. It has also been reported that President Donald J. Trump is a fan of Bolling, and vice versa.
Observers will be watching to see if Bolling appears in his usual co-anchor role on The Specialists this coming Monday, August 7. In the meantime, stay tuned for details.
Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who writes about national politics, media, popular culture, and health care. He is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. His new website is AltMedNews.net. Peter's July 28, 2017 90-minute interview on The Hagmann Report can be watched here.