Fox News co-president Bill Shine is out of a job, Fox owner Rupert Murdoch announced today in a memo to staff.
"Sadly, Bill Shine resigned today," Murdoch wrote. "I know Bill was respected and liked by everyone at Fox News. We will all miss him."
Shine was a longtime deputy of former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, ousted last summer after more than two dozen women came forward to accuse Ailes of sexual harassment.
Shine has been fingered in several lawsuits as an enabler of Ailes's behavior, in part because Shine allegedly knew about secret settlements that the company made to bury accusations against Ailes.
Ailes's departure heralded a wave of further allegations of racist and sexist abuse by top on-air talent and executives at the network, and drew new attention to past alleged transgressions. The New York Times recently spotlighted five settlements paid out by Fox News and primetime host Bill O'Reilly over alleged sexual harassment and other abuse by O'Reilly, including two settlements made after Ailes's firing. Those payouts totaled about $13 million, according to reporting by the Times.
MURDOCH statement to Fox News employees pic.twitter.com/5bEdcuyntQ
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) May 1, 2017
Earlier on Monday, Fox News reporter Diana Falzone sued the company, saying that she was banned from appearing on air for the network and its website after she wrote an article about her experience suffering from endometriosis. In her suit, Falzone alleged that her supervisor Refet Kaplan told her that the "Second Floor," a reference to Shine and co-president Jack Abernathy, no longer wanted her on the air. Kaplan refused to say why she had been demoted, according to the suit.
Falzone's suit is the 15th alleging race- or gender-based discrimination or harassment at the network, according to New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman, who broke the news of Shine's exit. The network is also reportedly under federal investigation for its handling of the Ailes settlements.
"While long overdue, we are pleased that 21st Century Fox has taken a step in the right direction by permitting Bill Shine to resign and that our recent court filings apparently influenced that decision," said Douglas Wigdor, a lawyer representing plaintiffs in racial discrimination suits, in a statement. A recent filing by Wigdor included as a plaintiff African-American Fox reporter and anchor Kelly Wright, who accused Shine of having "an obsession with race." Wigdor said "much more needs to be done" beyond removing Shine, including firing Dianne Brandi, the network lawyer who signed off on various secret payouts.
Before Murdoch's announcement, Shine asked Murdoch's sons for a public statement of support, and they declined to provide it, according to New York magazine. Rumors of Shine's precariousness prompted expressions of support from famed conservatives including Sarah Palin, who wrote on Facebook that Shine is "the good guy in all of this."
Shine signed on at Fox in 1996 and worked as Sean Hannity's producer before rising to the top position. Last week, Hannity tweeted that losing Shine would be "the total end of the FNC as we know it."
Gäbe i pray this is NOT true because if it is, that's the total end of the FNC as we know it. Done. Best Sean https://t.co/W3BJ2wjzRD
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) April 27, 2017
Hannity and Murdoch personally advise President Trump on a regular basis according to the Times. Trump is a big fan of the network, often live-tweeting his response to shows and peppering his speeches with recollections of segments he recently watched (for example, his famous reference to a terror attack or other bad event "last night in Sweden" was actually a muddled allusion to a segment of Tucker Carlson's show blaming immigrants to Sweden for rapes there).
Trump recently summed up his assessment of the relative objectivity of various TV news outlets by saying, "Fox has been fair," whereas otherwise, "every network you see hits me on every topic, made-up stories like Russia."