Fox Pushes Back On Report That Hannity Seeking Exit After Shine’s Resignation

Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto/Sipa USA

Fox News on Monday denied that top host Sean Hannity is negotiating his own departure from the network after former co-president Bill Shine resigned amid accusations that he helped cover up sexual harassment at the company.

“This is completely untrue,” a Fox News spokesperson told TPM in a statement on the network’s and Hannity’s behalf, responding to a report from the Daily Beast that the top host is looking to leave in the wake of Shine’s resignation.

Late Monday afternoon, Hannity also retweeted an article with the headline “Source: Sean Hannity is ‘Not Negotiating’ for an Exit From Fox News” with the caption: “All I’ll say now is this is true.”

Shine stepped down on Monday amid accusations that he retaliated against Fox News employees who came forward with allegations of sexual harassment, some against former CEO Roger Ailes.

New York Magazine reported on Thursday that James and Lachlan Murdoch, the CEO and executive co-chairman of 21st Century Fox, respectively, refused Shine’s request for a public statement of support, though spokespeople for the Murdochs and Shine denied that he made that request directly.

Hannity tweeted that Shine’s departure would mean “the total end” of Fox News “as we know it,” and went on to allege that a network higher-up was trying to oust Shine.

He also tweeted his support for Shine using the hashtag “#Istandwithbill,” which he amended to “#Istandwithshine” after apparently remembering that more than one Fox News personality with that first name has been in trouble recently (former top host Bill O’Reilly left in April amid sexual harassment accusations).

Hannity himself was accused of inappropriate behavior when a former Fox News guest alleged that Hannity invited her to his hotel room years ago and, after she refused, did not invite her to appear on his program again.

In an interview on KFAQ in April, Debbie Schlussel said Hannity made that request while he was on a trip to Detroit with Shine. She said the two treated her “horribly.”

“Sean came up to me and said, ‘We’re going to double-team this,’ which was a weird phrase to use,” Schlussel said, referring to a debate with another guest. “This kind of stuff is all over the place at Fox News and anything that has to do with Sean Hannity.”

Several days later, Schlussel clarified that she was not accusing Hannity of sexual harassment.

“Sexual harassment has a special meaning under the law, and I would never accuse him of that,” she told LawNewz.com. “I never thought I was sexually harassed by Sean Hannity, I thought he was weird and creepy.”

In a statement to the New York Daily News, Hannity called Schlussel’s allegations “100% false and a complete fabrication” and threatened legal action against her.

He appeared to continue that line of attack in a series of tweets posted Sunday.

This post has been updated.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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