Earlier this week, Rupert Murdoch cut Fox News co-president Bill Shine loose after months of turmoil surrounding sexual allegations against Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly. This firing, of course, is part of a network revamp, for Shine’s ousting arrived after female employees circulated a petition to demand his removal. On Friday, the Wall Street Journal published information about the ongoing federal probe into the network, and Shine has been hit with some serious allegations by an ex-Fox News talent booker, Laurie Luhn.
Luhn’s name will sound familiar to those who followed the Ailes saga last fall. She accused Ailes of sexually harassing her for decades, and this behavior allegedly included “psychological torture.” Meanwhile, the ongoing federal probe has reportedly shown that multiple Fox News executives enabled a workplace environment “in which sexual harassment allegedly wasn’t punished.” In particular, Luhn tells the WSJ that Shine was instrumental to Ailes in an effort to keep her from talking. She even accuses Shine of trying to have her committed to a psych ward against her will:
Ms. Luhn said Mr. Ailes harassed her and subjected her to “psychological torture” for years. She said Mr. Shine took steps to keep her from talking to the press, moving her between hotel rooms and at one point calling her father to arrange her placement in a psychiatric-care facility in Texas against her wishes. Eventually her lawyer negotiated a settlement with Fox. Ms. Brandi signed it while Messrs. Ailes and Shine signed a general release of known and unknown claims that was part of the separation agreement.
Mr. Shine resigned on May 1 amid criticism that he tolerated harassment. He couldn’t be reached for comment, but has previously denied wrongdoing or awareness of Mr. Ailes’s alleged misconduct.
In addition to the grim picture painted by these new allegations — which if true, are damning — the Justice Department is also digging into how Fox News structured payments made to women who made sexual harassment claims. Recently, the U.S. Postal Service also joined the probe to investigate whether the network committed mail fraud in the course of concealing these settlements. All told, there may have been illegal behavior involved with hiding these payments in addition to the workplace culture issues at hand. The Murdochs may be cleaning house, but the network’s issues aren’t over.