A Brief History of Fox’s Sexual Harassment Scandals, From Roger Ailes to Charles Payne

Fox Business host is latest to face allegations by female employees

fox ailes o'reilly payne sexual harassmentfox ailes o'reilly payne sexual harassment

The sudden ouster of Fox Sports President Jamie Horowitz and the suspension of Fox Business Host Charles Payne this week are the latest signs of a sea shift in the Murdoch-run entertainment giant in its response to allegations of sexual harassment. 

In the last year, Fox has been rocked by damaging reports of misconduct by executives and on-air talent toward female workers, which have led to the removal of Fox News chairman Roger Ailes last summer, the firing of Fox News host Bill O’Reilly this spring and more than $40 million in payments to former employees to settle harassment claims.

The sudden exit of Horowitz after two years programming the company’s FS1 and FS2 cable sports channels signals a relatively new zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment allegations under CEO James Murdoch and executive co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch — who took over day-to-day oversight of the company from their father, founding CEO Rupert Murdoch, two years ago.

In the last year, the sheer volume of allegations — and in many cases, dismissals — has been daunting.

Below is a timeline of allegations of sexual harassment and discriminatory behavior that have been leveled against top Fox executives and on-air talent.

July 6, 2016: Gretchen Carlson files lawsuit against Roger Ailes

Former “Fox & Friends” anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes, who denied her claims.

July 9, 2016: Six other women claim Ailes harassed them

Former Republican National Committee field adviser Kellie Boyle and model Marsha Callahan were among the six women who accused Ailes of previous harassment. Ailes denied the claims. 

July 19, 2016: Megyn Kelly says she was sexually harassed by Ailes

Amid an external law firm’s investigation into the multiple claims against Ailes, then primetime host Megyn Kelly told investigators that she had been harassed by Ailes years ago. Kelly wrote in her memoir about talking to investigators about the allegations. 

July 21, 2016: Ailes resigns

Fox News announced that Ailes had resigned as network chairman after two decades of dominating cable news, walking away with a $40 million severance package.

Jan. 10, 2017: Bill O’Reilly settlement comes to light

News surfaced that the “O’Reilly Factor” host had previously settled with Juliet Huddy, a Fox News employee who claimed he tried to derail her career after she rebuffed his rommantic advances.

March 8, 2017: Fox News settles with Tamara N. Holder

Fox News paid former on-air contributor Tamara N. Holder more than $2.5 million following allegations that Fox News Latino vice president Francisco Cortes tried to coerce her into performing oral sex on him.

March 24, 2017: Fox News comptroller Judy Slater sacked

Fox News has fired longtime comptroller Judy Slater after an internal investigation concluded she had engaged in a pattern of racist comments and behavior; several of the employees later filed lawsuits against the network over the incidents.

April 1, 2017: Claims against O’Reilly settled for $13 million 

A New York Times investigation found that O’Reilly and Fox News had paid $13 million in total to five women who had worked or appeared on “O’Reilly Factor” over the years and made claims of sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior.

April 3, 2017: Another lawsuit against Ailes and Fox News

Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky filed a lawsuit accusing Ailes of sexually harassing her. She also alleged that Fox News co-president Bill Shine retaliated against her for making the claims. Ailes denied the allegations, and Shine declined to comment.

April 19, 2017: Fox News cuts ties with O’Reilly

Fox News announced that O’Reilly would not return to the network following its external investigation into claims of sexual harassment.

April 21, 2017: Debbie Schlussel claims Sean Hannity invited her to his hotel

Former Fox News guest Debbie Schlussel claimed that primetime host Sean Hannity had once invited her back to his hotel after an event they attended, and that she was never invited back to Hannity’s show after she rebuffed his advances. The host denied the claims. Schlussel later clarified that she did not consider the encounter to constitute sexual harassment. “I thought he was weird and creepy,” she told LawNewz.

April 24, 2017: Andrea Tarantos files her own lawsuit

Andrea Tantaros, a former host of the Fox show “The Five,” filed a new lawsuit against Ailes, Shine and other network executives, claiming that an extensive online harassment campaign had been waged against her. Fox news sought arbitration and called Tantaros “not a victim” but “an opportunist.”

May 1, 2017: Bill Shine resigns

Following Roginsky and Tarantos’ lawsuits, Fox News announced that Shine was exiting the network.

May 19, 2017: Bob Beckel fired at Fox News

Fox News fired “The Five” co-host Bob Beckel on Friday after he was accused of making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee. Fox News human resources took less than 48 hours to investigate the incident and recommend dismissal, a network executive told TheWrap.

June 19, 2017: Investigation by the state of New York

The New York State Division on Human Rights launched an investigation into Fox News, over her sexual harassment claims by former “O’Reilly Factor” guest commentator Wendy Walsh against O’Reilly, Walsh’s attorney Lisa Bloom said. O’Reilly has denied Walsh’s claims.

July 3, 2017: Fox Sports fires Jamie Horowtiz

Jamie Horowitz was abruptly ousted from his position as president Fox Sports National Networks amid allegations of sexual harassment against Horowitz, an individual familiar with the matter told the New York Times. Horowitz’s attorney denied any misconduct.

July 6, 2017: Fox Business suspends Charles Payne

Charles Payne, the host of Fox Business’ “Making Money,” was suspended by the network due to an investigation over a three-year relationship with a married political analyst who appeared as a guest on Fox Business and Fox News, the Los Angeles Times reported. Payne denied allegations of sexual harassment, calling them an “ugly lie.”