Fox News commentator says Weinstein allegations should close the company. What about Ailes?

Gregg Jarrett, Fox News anchor and commentator, wrote in a Friday column for the site that the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein and the steps the company took to settle with his accusers should result in the company closing.

“The Weinstein Company should immediately shut-down its operations and permanently close its doors,” he wrote.

Jarrett’s claim hinges on Weinstein’s contract with The Weinstein Company, and what other employees at Weinstein’s company knew about the alleged abuse and whether management practice may have facilitated any abuses — ironically, exactly the reason Fox News is under federal investigation.

The Department of Justice and United States Postal Inspection Service (that agency covers mail and wire fraud, among other crimes) is investigating Fox news over its business practices in an inquiry related to widespread allegations of sexual abuse at Fox News.

CNNMoney reported the probe is focused on settlement payments to women who say they are Ailes’ victims, payments made to Ailes’ close confidants, and potential employee misconduct related to the sexual harassment allegations.

Abuse claims at Fox News span years and a number of men across the company — Roger Ailes was allegedly using his position to abuse women as far back as the 1980s; Bill O’Reilly was taken off air after the New York Times revealed Fox News had settled at least five lawsuits with women who said he sexually harassed them; Eric Bolling was ousted for allegedly sexual harassing several colleagues. Over at Fox Sports, Jamie Horowitz was fired for harassment claims, and his accusers identified a culture of mistreatment. Bill Shine, a close Ailes ally and network president, was also ousted after lawsuits said he helped cover up abuses; Suzanne Scott was promoted around the same time, even though she was accused in lawsuits of some of the same enabling behavior.

Investors are calling for a board-level overhaul at 21st Century Fox, including a review of its management and culture to determine what has contributed to an epidemic sexual and racial discrimination allegations.

According to Jarrett’s claims, if Weinstein’s contract and the company’s management practices contributed to a culture that condoned and even facilitated abuse, the company should be shuttered. But evidence points to Fox News suffering from just such an endemic problem: The Washington Post characterized the company as Ailes’ personal “locker room,” while the New York Times said that Ailes “thrived” at the company despite allegations and settlements. One of the women who sued Fox News said the company “operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency and misogyny,” and she accused Fox News of retaliatory electronic surveillance and harassment even after she left.

“The Weinstein Company surely knew it had a sexual predator at the helm,” Jarrett wrote in his column, “but did little to stop him.” He does not mentioned whether Fox News “surely knew it had a sexual predator at the helm” in Roger Ailes or any of the other men accused of chronic misconduct.
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