The most-watched cable news channel in the country is in the midst of another high-profile controversy. According to multiple outlets, on-air personality Eric Bolling has been suspended from Fox News pending an investigation into sexual harassment allegations. "Eric Bolling has been suspended pending the results of an investigation," a Fox News spokesperson says in an email to Bustle, "which is currently underway."
A Fox News spokesperson also said the following: "We are investigating this matter and all claims will be taken into account."
Specifically, HuffPost reported on Friday that a dozen sources at the channel claim Bolling, 54, texted sexually explicit images of his genitalia to at least two employees of the Fox Business Network, and at at least one employee of Fox News. Bolling's lawyer, Michael J. Bowe, released a statement to the HuffPost on Friday, saying that his client "recalls no such inappropriate communications," and doesn't believe he sent them.
"Mr. Bolling recalls no such inappropriate communications, does not believe he sent any such communications, and will vigorously pursue his legal remedies for any false and defamatory accusations that are made," Bowe said.
Bowe followed that up with another statement to NBC News on Saturday, more forcefully denying the accusations as "untrue and terribly unfair," and saying Bolling plans to cooperate with the investigation.
The anonymous, uncorroborated claims are untrue and terribly unfair. We intend to fully cooperate with the investigation so that it can be concluded and Eric can return to work as quickly as possible.
The Fox News spokesperson tells Bustle that the network was made aware of the allegations from the HuffPost report.
Mere hours after the suspension was announced, political science professor Caroline Heldman detailed allegations of sexually harassing behavior from Bolling in a a Facebook post. According to journalist Yashar Ali, the Huffington Post confirmed the Facebook account indeed belongs to Heldman, who appeared frequently on Fox News from 2008 to 2011.
I did hundreds of appearances on Fox and Fox Business from 2008 - 2011, and had multiple experiences with Bolling that caused grave concern to my friends and family. Bolling referred to me as "Dr. McHottie" on air on four different occasions, and called me “smart, beautiful, and wrong” on air twice. I pushed back with “Mr. McSexist,” but I shouldn't have had to. This on-air behavior was perfectly acceptable to Fox executives at the time.
There hasn't yet been any indication how long Bolling's suspension will last. The investigation is being handled by Paul Weiss, the same law firm that investigated the sexual harassment allegations that forced longtime Fox News host Bill O'Reilly off the air in April. (O'Reilly has vehemently denied all claims.) This is the third high-profile set of sexual harassment allegations to embroil Fox News over the last year, following on the ones against O'Reilly earlier this year, and the ones that ended Roger Ailes' career last year. Ailes, too, has forcefully pushed back on all such allegations.