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Sexism, Sexual Harassment, and Rape Allegations at Fox News – Can the Boy’s Club at Fox Survive Feminism?

Fox News stand at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport Date: Taken on 3 October 2006, 14:30 Source: Fox News stand Author: Rae Whitlock from Columbus, OH, USA
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by Juliet Hillbrand, for Peace Data

(re-publishing permitted)

On July 20th, a complaint was filed through the New York Federal Court, alleging sexual misconduct against the leading Fox News hosts. The hosts with alleged charges include Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Howard Kurtz, Gianno Caldwelll, and rape allegations against Ed Henry.

Fox also canceled The Bill O’Reilly’s show in 2017 and terminated his contract after his 21-year career at Fox, due to a plethora of sexual harassment allegations against him.

As the harassment-positive culture seems not only permissible at Fox, but embraced, Fox News is falling under a lot of scrutiny and public heat for their pre-Victorian mentality to gender roles.

Not only do women not feel safe in the Fox news workplace, they also must submit themselves to the patriarchal behavior of a male-controlled media tyranny. With Fox male colleagues creating countless moments documented on film where they degrade their female co-hosts in cringe-worthy confidence, these comments are nothing more than a psychological technique to assert male dominance.

Ask yourself if this is the empowering workplace in which women should feel grateful for a seat at the table?

You can view a six-minute video here of compiled footage showing Fox hosts, “repeatedly belittle, insult, harass, and objectify women — including women Fox anchors themselves.”

It leaves one wondering in a state of antipathy – ‘If this is the behavior they conduct on-film, what is going on behind-the-scenes?’

July 2020 Submission of New Rape Case

Jennifer Eckhart, a female Fox News team reporter since January 2013, accused Ed Henry, a Fox Business Producer, of raping her, handcuffing her, and leaving her with bloody wrists. Eckhardt filed a report as of June 25th, 2020 for misconduct that was stated as being from years ago.

The complaint and investigators write:

“In reality, Fox News knew that Mr. Henry had engaged in sexual misconduct as far back as early 2017… At that time, when Fox News was conducting a company-wide investigation into issues of sexual harassment, multiple women came forward to complain that Mr. Henry had engaged in sexually inappropriate conduct towards them.

Fox responded to Jennifer Eckhart and Cathy Areu’s statements against Bill O Reilly and Tucker Carlson explicitly stating that they found these claims to be “false, patently frivolous and utterly devoid of all merit.”

Eckhart describes of her experience with the top-rated news show:

“It is widely documented in the public record that Fox News has not only cultivated and fostered sexual harassment and misconduct but has consistently accepted and rewarded it.”

Eckhart’s representing law firm, Wigdor LLP, claims:

“What this lawsuit reveals is that today’s Fox News is the same old Fox News

We expect Fox News to claim – as it almost always does – that an ‘independent’ investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing.”

Fox responded by claiming it was an issue to be handled by Ms. Eckhardt ‘directly’ with Ed Henry, essentially asking for their precious Fox name to be left out of the public spectacle. Mr. Henry’s employment was terminated on July 1st of 2020, but Fox claims that this ‘swift action,’ was their final contribution of justice to this matter.

This ‘swift action’ as they call it was not as lightning fast as you may imagine.

Fox has been well-aware of his inappropriate behavior for years – And has done nothing.

The only reason that Henry was terminated now is because Ms. Eckhardt went public. The general public’s knowledge of this incited action from Fox; however, without this public knowledge, it is clear that no action would have been taken to stop Henry.

The Sexist Boys Club of Fox News

Fox and Bill O’Reilly paid about $13-million to settle sexual abuse charges in 2017. But ask the victim, Juliet Huddy, what she has lost in the process; her name, career, reputation… What is the appropriate price to attach to the loss of these intimate values?

With males trying to make Fox News a ‘boys only club,’ it conjures up the memory of a fitting quote from Bella Abzug, who fiercely writes, “the test of whether or not you can hold a job should not be in the arrangement of your chromosomes.”

As the conservative-latent tone of bravado leads the messaging strategy for this news panel, there is little hope in removing the insecurity-rich baseline by which Fox operates. By taking women down a peg, they bring themselves up a peg. They sexually harass to assert additional power over women that silently whispers as they metaphorically puff out their chests in an ape-like fashion, ‘what are you gonna do about it?’

Women at Fox are left between a lose-lose situation and catch 22. If they report the sexual misconduct of their male colleagues, they face the outcomes of:

  1. Losing their reputation, credibility, and quite possibly their job or future any ability to be employed within the world of broadcasting.

Or B.) Remaining dutifully silent and taking the abuse as a requirement of the job.

How Fox News Males Assert Dominance

Reverting back to the 1700s, Fox news is psychologically setting us back centuries with the discriminatory bounds of an age that favored the role of male dominance, as well as the preceding expectation of female submissiveness.

Saying comments like, “the only thing hotter than Brenda’s outfit today,” the Fox male news anchors are known for over-sexualizing their female costars with crudely-offensive remarks.

As men witness women’s expanding rights to formal education, voting rights, and co-hosting with them on Fox News – their patriarchal instincts kick in and whisper, ‘she’s a subversive threat to my masculinity! Take her down a notch!’

This insecure mentality is nothing new.

Kings took hundreds of wives in Egypt, women’s voices were kept out of literature for centuries, and these same themes are translated into the modern media outlet of today’s age.

There is also an established Fox-rule that female anchors are not allowed to wear trousers, quite literallyremoving a woman’s ability to ‘wear the pants’ in the workplace!

When women are not allowed to even dress themselves, or claim power of their basic human expression, (departing from their historical responsibility of damsel-in-distress) – How are they expected to be taken seriously? Would you respect someone that cannot even demand the right to choose their own clothing?

Not the mention, When Caroline Heldman, a Senior Research Advisor for Gender in Media, visited the Bill O’ Reilly Show, she describes:

“[Bill O’Reilly] called me ‘hysterical’ and I said, ‘That’s a sexist term. And he cut this entire part out—he ran the segment and cut it out! I called him out on it, and he said, ‘I would call a guy hysterical.’ And I said, ‘No you wouldn’t, it’s a gendered term. The term doesn’t have meaning unless you apply it to a woman. You can’t apply it to a man. It is a gendered term.”

The Female’s Role at Fox News

Sexism is rooted in the teeny-tiny DNA strands of Fox News.

Women should stand there, look pretty, and spin a story. Stay quiet, be submissive, do not have too many opinions, smile pretty at the CEO, laugh at his bad jokes, and then you’ll get your paycheck. Maybe.

Hannah Groch Begley, a Journalist, Researcher, and feminist that speaks out against Fox News through her platform at Media Matters, states:

“You’re there as eye candy and to be scoffed at. That is your role on Fox if you’re a woman.”

This frame of mentality is found in every ripple of the Fox-News-Culture.

Often a female costar (in news, cinema, etc.) is hired as the reflection of a masculine-power. Basically, she is there to make him look even more strong and manly. Even in literature, a female protagonist was devised as a very intentional juxtaposition, used skillfully by male authors as an accentuation of the male’s heroism, best viewed against the coquettish helplessness of the fair maiden.

This is the case for the typical female hired by Fox: blonde-haired, blue-eyed, model-type. (Note: This is not to disregard any of these women’s talent or intellects based solely on the premise that they are blonde and attractive. It is solely to point out that Fox has a certain ‘look’ that they typecast as their female lead.

Fox typically hires a blonde that is smart, sweet, and smiles even when she is cut-off or spoken over by her male counterpart. If she’s too strong, then she’s too ‘sassy’ and ‘difficult’ for Fox news (two words that are consequently never used to describe a man).

As female news anchors at Fox are pigeonholed by being gentle and ladylike, Fox ensures that their masculine agenda remains in the driver’s seat.

Ultimately, this sets a disturbing precedence for all competing news outlets, and an established fallacy of male supremacy as a ‘norm’ for our media industry.

Pssst, while you're here...

If the whistleblowers are not speaking up, who will?

Gretchen Carlson and The ‘Me-Too Movement’

In 2016, the ‘Me Too Movement’ of women courageously speaking out against those that had sexually harassed or abused them, Bill O’Reilly was one of many men to be blacklisted.

This social movement that expanded through the Twitter hashtag of #MeToo, sparked bravery throughout Hollywood as women spoke out against sexual misconduct of male directors, news reporters, casting directors, and other prominent male figures within the industry.

Along with Bill, we took down the sleazy-scum-of-the-earths, including but not limited to: Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, and a few other key-players at 21st Century Fox.

In this piece titled ‘How #MeToo Has Awoken Women Around the World,’ it was discovered that:

“Analyses of the movement often point to the prevalence of sexual violence, which has been estimated by the World Health Organization to affect one-third of all women worldwide.

‘A 2017 poll by ABC News and The Washington Post found that “54% of American women report receiving ‘unwanted and inappropriate’ sexual advances with 95% saying that such behavior usually goes unpunished. Others state that #MeToo underscores the need for men to intervene when they witness demeaning behavior.”

Gretchen Carlson, an American Journalist, named in Time Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People, made sexual harassment claims against deceased Fox News Founder, Roger Ailes. Ailes faced countless sexual harassment allegations before his death in 2017, so his name can be added to the top of the list as ‘the original bad-seed of Fox News.’

Carlson writes of her post-Fox news career transition:

I want my voice back. I want it back for me, and for all those silenced by forced arbitration and NDAs.

‘This week, former Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky and I launched a new nonprofit organization called Lift Our Voices to advocate an end to the harmful practice of mandatory NDAs, confidentiality provisions and forced arbitration clauses that have prevented employees from publicly discussing and disclosing toxic workplace conditions, including sexual harassment and assault.

This is the next phase in the #MeToo movement, and it is one that needs to gain traction if we truly want to change the culture for better.”

She calls on Fox News to release her, and all females, from the subjugation of choosing between basic human safety rights and one’s job. The two should not be mutually exclusive. She writes that Fox should ‘do what’s right,’ and ‘take this step today, for the sake of all women, in every workplace.”

Similar Allegations Against Donald Trump and Joe Biden

To expand upon America’s indisputable issue with placing accountability on males in a position of power, Joe Biden has eight allegations of sexual harassment and touching, while President Donald Trump has a whopping twenty-five cases of Sexual Misconduct against him.

With over thirty cases of sexual harassment between the two of them – How many undocumented situations do you think are being left unreported?

Although many of the cases against Donald Trump date back to his pre-presidential era, there are also very recent cases such as the 2019 June report from Jean Carroll, who claimed that Donald Trump, ‘forced his penis insight of her in a dressing room.’

The typical statement response regarding these accusations is Trump self-proclaiming that people are just ‘trying to make the president look bad.’

With this breed of response being acceptable in today’s political culture, how many women want to remain silent because it would have cost them their job, name, freedom to work, etc.? How many women had to swallow this mistreatment in the name of just surviving the system of this dog-eat-dog world? How many women are still remaining silent for the sake of keeping their job and means of income?

Regarding our verdict on these claims against two of the most powerful men in politics, our point is not to make claims against these men; our point is to report on them, publicize them, and encourage the further investigation of these claims.

If they are innocent, that is wonderful news.

But our hope is that, regardless, it is properly investigated.

Without basic investigative expectations being an obvious, clear-cut, and reasonable follow-up to claims of this scale, there is little hope for women at Fox Century News, or under any dominion of conservative overlords.

The Future for Fox and These Sexual Harassment Cases

To note on a few of these sexual harassment claims, there is little action to report on.  Bill O’Reilly was terminated, the founder of Fox news passed away in old age, and Tucker Carlson has resigned as of July 11th, 2020.

Executives at Fox all fear that ‘they’re next’ on the chopping block, appropriately shrinking under the fear of their karmic-justice being served like yesterday’s cold supper.

Stay tuned for updates on these rapidly-evolving cases and the nearly half-dozen Fox News Employees that are counting the minutes until their employment is terminated.

One thing that has been made clear – Fox News will defend their male progenies until the bitter end.

We’re assured that no real action will be taken from the inside while Fox suckles these little baby-boys and lets them get away with whatever they want, (tantrums, touching, misreporting, whatever they please in this smorgasbord of unruly behavior!)

The outcome to these allegations and claims will heavily depend on whose lawyers are better, how far Fox will take this, how much they care about their public appearance, and how impactful the social pressure from the public is.

The hope here is not that Fox will want to change. Fox has had decades of opportunities to evolve; They have repeatedly proven that they do not want to change.

The only hope here is that the public forces them to change.

If the public fights back loud enough, Fox will not be able to continue these blatant concrete-ceilings that are keeping female professionals blocked from transgressional ascension, promotions without a transactional basis of exchanged ‘favors,’ and other related violations of basic safety rights in the workplace.

Why These Crimes Should Never Be Silenced

In a modern gender revolution that would make Mary Wollstonecraft proud, women are growing tired of being damsels for the sake of mediocre news reporting.

It is one thing to say a man is more important or valuable than a woman, (which is obviously wrong since women make all the men), but it is an entirely different things to say that because of this power struggle – a woman deserves to be raped, harmed, and degraded traumatically against their will, simply because they are not strong enough to compete physically.

This becomes a gender war that goes far beyond the merits of basic entitlements and encroaches on a fundamental rights to feel safe within your own professional domain and protected by your employer.

No matter how rich, famous, influential, or powerful the offender is – silence is never the appropriate response to injustice.

When crimes are swept under the rug that:

  • Dehumanize women
  • Subjectify women to life-long trauma
  • And infringe on a female’s fundamental human rights of safety in the workplace –

There is something deeply flawed, sick, and wrong with our system.

By reporting on these injustices, we hope to bring these issues into the sunlight, where they can breathe in the open air and be seen in all of their heavy truthfulness. Although matters such as this are hard to look at, they cannot be ignored. Ignoring them allows them to stay in the dark shadows, where change simply cannot exist.

If you have a case to report, stand in your power, and support other women by supporting yourself. As the inspirational poet Maya Angelou writes, “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.”

As of August 2020 and short years since its inception, the #MeToo movement is in full-heat, collectively declaring to the patriarchal hierarchy of this nation – “Times up!” Are you ready to answer the call?


Juliet Hillbrand is an Independent Journalist and award-winning Communications Specialist. Named in ‘Top Writers in Texas,’ as well as ‘Top Artists of the Year 2019,’ her work has been featured to 10,000 newsrooms, including The Wallstreet Journal, Business Insider, Yahoo, and The New Delhi Times.

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