Fox News explains abrupt termination of Ed Henry

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Fox News has terminated host Ed Henry over allegations of sexual misconduct, according to an internal memo obtained by BizPac Review.

The memo states that the alleged incident occurred “years ago,” and that the network hired an outside law firm to “independently investigate the claims” after receiving a complaint from a former employee’s attorney.

“On Thursday, June 25, we received a complaint about Ed Henry from a former employee’s attorney involving willful sexual misconduct in the workplace years ago,” the memo states. “We immediately retained an outside law firm (which has never represented FOX News in investigations or litigation) to independently investigate the claims.

“Ed was suspended the same day and removed from his on-air responsibilities pending investigation. Based on investigative findings, Ed has been terminated,” the memo added.

The memo said that “rotating news anchors” will be co-anchoring “America’s Newsroom” from New York City with co-host Sandra Smith “until a permanent replacement is named.”

“FOX News Media strictly prohibits all forms of sexual harassment, misconduct and discrimination,” the memo noted further. “We will continue striving to maintain a safe and inclusive workplace for all employees.”

The memo noted further that the network updated its policies in January 2017 to include mandatory annual “Inclusion and Harassment Prevention training.”

“We encourage any employee who has a sexual harassment, discrimination or misconduct complaint of any form to report it immediately, as we have said repeatedly over the last four years.”

Fox News has had its share of sexual harassment complaints and firings in recent years, the most notable among them, complaints against then-long-serving CEO Roger Ailes, who was widely credited for establishing the brand.

In July 2016, former host Gretchen Carlson claimed that she was fired by the network after 11 years because she refused to have sex with Ailes, according to court filings.

“I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better,” Ailes allegedly told Carlson the previous year, the filing noted, adding that Ailes comment came after she went into his office to report other untoward behavior.

Carlson said that co-host Steve Doocy also made discriminatory and diminishing statements to her both on and off-set.

Ailes issued a statement at the time vigorously denying the allegations, but he eventually resigned from the network in 2016 following additional allegations of sexual misconduct. The network would eventually settle a lawsuit filed by Carlson for $20 million.

Ailes died in May 2017 from a head injury sustained during a fall in his home.

The network also dismissed top prime-time host Bill O’Reilly in October 2017 after The New York Times reported that Fox News had settled $32 million worth of sexual harassment suits filed by former host Lis Wiehl and five other women.

But Fox News is not the only major network to dismiss male hosts for sexual misconduct:

— Long-time MSNBC host Chris Matthews abruptly retired in March of this year amid swirling accusations and self-admitted inappropriate comments to women.

— Journalist Charlie Rose was accused of serial sexual harassment and the Bloomberg studios where he taped his shows was described in a lawsuit as a “sexual hunting ground.”

— A woman’s advocacy group has called on NBC and MSNBC to clean up the “toxic culture” that allegedly exists at both networks.

— Former NBC “Today” co-host Matt Lauer was fired in November 2017 for sexual misconduct.

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Jon Dougherty

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