Former Fox News co-president Bill Shine’s White House appointment in a top communications role in the White House on Thursday is being hailed by an anti-sexism group as inappropriate, accusing him of covering up sexual harassment and abuse at the network during the Roger Ailes years.
“For years, Bill Shine actively covered up Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly’s sexual misconduct at Fox News, created and fostered a toxic work environment at the network, and actively retaliated against women who reported their abuse,” said Karin Roland, chief campaigns officer for the women’s advocacy group UltraViolet.
“While certainly disturbing, Fox News’ Bill Shine is an unsurprising pick for the Trump White House,” Roland’s statement continued. “Since taking office, the Trump administration has been a revolving door of abusers of women and their enablers–and Shine is just the latest perpetrator to be added to those ranks.”
Shine was named Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications on Thursday, filling the vacancy left by Hope Hicks, who stepped down as director of strategic communication in February.
The White House did not address the accusations that Shine worked to cover up sexual harassment scandals during his time at Fox News in its announcement, instead highlighting his “two decades of television programming, communications, and management experience.”
After the Ailes fallout, Shine was accused of mishandling the allegations in multiple lawsuits, including one from a former Fox News booker who said she was “psychologically tortured” by Ailes for decades, a relationship facilitated by Shine. Shine has denied any wrongdoing.
In a Buzzfeed story published on Thursday, several Fox News and White House sources were quick to call out the White House for bringing on a communications official with a history of covering up workplace abuses.
“It’s extraordinary that the president of the United States could hire someone like this,” an unnamed senior Fox News executive told the site. “This is someone who is highly knowledgeable of women being cycled through for horrible and degrading behavior by someone who was an absolute monster.”
“The optics of hiring someone with a real problem of dealing with workplace harassment … are very problematic,” said a former White House official.