The Obama Administration alums behind the “Pod Save America” podcast called Fox News a “garbage organization that protects sexual harassers” following a New York Times report that the network and Bill O’Reilly have paid $13 million to five women who accused the longtime host of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior.
In the latest edition of their podcast — one of the most popular on iTunes — former Obama speechwriters Jon Favreau and Jon Lovett took turns teeing off on Fox News. At one point Lovett called it “a disgusting organization with giant old-man heads attacking pretty young women and putting them on television if they’ll do sexual favors.”
Lovett said the allegations against O’Reilly have lingered for years, just like the ones against Bill Cosby did. (They include O’Reilly’s quickly settled “loofah” case.) The “Pod Save America” hosts also pointed to the harassment allegations against former Fox News chief Roger Ailes, which Fox News settled last year for $20 million.
“The worst part is all of these people are allowed to stay at Fox News which every day is the No. 1 defender acting as state television for a man in the White House who is a sexual predator,” said Favreau. “Bill O’Reilly every night defends Donald Trump’s agenda, and he has sexually harassed people, Roger Ailes has sexually harassed people, and no one f—ing does anything at this organization.”
Ailes did not actually stay at Fox News: The allegations led to his resignation.
“We have no idea how many settlements are out there, because those settlements are pretty ironclad,” added Lovett, a former producer of HBO’s “The Newsroom” and co-creator of the sitcom “1600 Penn.”
He added: “People come forward, they look at their options, they look at whose careers have been destroyed by going forward, and they say, ‘You know what, I’m going to settle. I’m going to take the money.’ And they write check after check after check because Fox News has generated billions of dollars or hundreds of hundreds of millions of dollars for their parent corporation and everyone looks the other way, and it’s despicable.”
The hosts said the notion that women would call an internal Fox News hotline to report sexual harassment was absurd, because the network protects those who commit harassment.
“I’m just so sick of — in the conversation about media organizations and ideological media organizations left and right it’s like, ‘And then there’s organizations on the right like Fox News, that just have a conservative viewpoint, and organizations on the left, like the Huffington Post’ — no. You know what? No. Fox is nothing like that. Fox is a garbage organization that protects sexual harassers. And they lie all the time. … They are not a legitimate f—ing news organization.”
But he did offer one compliment: “There are some legitimate reporters in there. A few left.”
Lovett jumped in: “And Chris Wallace and … Shep Smith? You guys gotta look in the mirror because you’re part of something f—ing evil and you can’t pretend that you’re not. It is evil … Fox News is a disgusting organization with giant old-man heads attacking pretty young women and putting them on television if they’ll do sexual favors. That is not an acceptable news organization for the White House briefing room.”
“Anyway,” Favreau concluded. “I don’t know if we like Fox.”
Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Favreau and Lovett host the show with fellow Obama Administration alums Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor.