It appears Roger Ailes may not have been the only who sexually harassed women at Fox News.
In fact, about a dozen women interviewed by The New York Times have said they have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment in some form or other — and in only two of the cases, Ailes was the culprit. The rest of despicable acts were committed by other leaders and supervisors at the news agency network.
One former staff member at the embattled news channel said she once walked into an office where a junior employee was being forced to give oral sex to a senior manager. Another reporter said the leaders often made provocative comments about female coworkers’ bodies or clothing. Yet another said she was propositioned with sex after she asked to work on an assignment.
Almost all the women reported they were not willing to go to the HR department for fear their complaints would led to them being fired — as happened with Rudi Bakhtiar.
Bakhtiar, a highly promising reporter, left CNN after working there for nearly a decade to join Fox News. In 2007, while she was having a cup of coffee with her co-worker, Brian Wilson, who, incidentally, was set to become Washington bureau chief, she was told he wanted a friends-with-benefits relationship with her. After Bakhtiar refused his advances, she noticed her appearances in Washington were being canceled. Once she reported her incident to the human resources department, she was summoned to Ailes' office, where he reportedly said her career at Fox News was at an end.
It’s doubly disappointing because many women believe the behavior is par for the course in the industry.
“There is a culture where, not that you accept it, you just deal with it,” one former employee said.
“Fox and Friends” was also accused of covering up a sexual harassment-in-the-making when they quickly deleted a not-so-appropriate tweet in which journalist Bill Hemmer is seen peeping from behind Heather Nauert.
Days after the allegation over Ailes surfaced, Fox News Executive Vice President Michael Clemente and his second, Peter Boyer, also chose to leave the network. Although insiders stated their departure had nothing to do with Ailes’ allegations, CNN noted Clemente had no plans to leave prior to the scandal.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters, Fred Prouser