Fox News Co-President Bill Shine Has Resigned
Less than two weeks after the announcement that Bill O'Reilly will not be returning to his popular primetime show on the network, Fox News confirmed its co-president Bill Shine has resigned on Monday. New York Magazine's Gabriel Sherman first broke the news of Shine's resignation in a tweet citing two nameless sources, but rumors of his impending ouster were rife following the backlash from a New York Times report about the network's settlements with women who accused O'Reilly of harassment. O'Reilly, formerly Fox News' most popular and highest rated on-air personality, has denied all claims of harassment, sexual or otherwise. In the wake of Shine's resignation, Suzanne Scott was promoted to president of programming and Jay Wallace to president of news.
Shine is a holdover from the Roger Ailes-era of the network. Ailes, its former CEO, left under a similar cloud of sexual harassment allegations last summer. (He also roundly denies all claims.) After Ailes' departure, the Murdoch family, which owns parent 21st Century Fox, promoted Shine to co-president. According to reports, many Fox News employees were unhappy with Shine's promotion; they reportedly considered him complicit in fostering the culture of misogyny that prompted the allegations.
Rupert Murdoch, the patriarch of the family of owners, announced Shine's resignation in a memo to staff on Monday afternoon:
Shine's resignation comes at as Fox News is scrambling to mend the network's reputation. The allegations against Ailes from some of its own high-profile female hosts last year were damaging, but the Times investigation into the $13 million in settlements that Fox News paid to cover up O'Reilly's reported behavior opened the floodgates. Advertisers fled his show, The O'Reilly Factor, in droves, and protestors flocked to the Fox News headquarters in New York City to demand that he be fired. O'Reilly promptly took off, citing longstanding plans for a vacation, and his Fox News show was terminated while he was away.
After O'Reilly, critics set their sights on Shine. Reports claim that Shine had a hand in enabling bad behavior towards Fox News' female employees, and often swept those incidents under the rug. It's unclear how Shine's resignation will affect how the network is run, or if there will be any drastic changes. Sean Hannity, one of Fox News' hosts, addressed rumors of Shine's ouster the week before on Twitter, noting that it would be "the end" of the network if he leaves. At the time of writing, Hannity has yet to comment publicly on this latest development.
The back-to-back departures of O'Reilly and Shine may signal the Murdochs' intention to change the alleged workplace culture at Fox News, but it remains to be seen whether the removal of several figures at the top of the company's hierarchy can be transformative. In his Monday statement to employees, Rupert Murdoch noted Fox News' high ratings and added, "I am sure we can do even better."