Fox News Denies Shepard Smith Move Was a Result of Him Wanting to Come Out As Gay

Fox News Shepard Smith Gay
Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

After tweaking anchor Shepard Smith’s newsroom duties last year, Fox News has denied allegations that the changes were a result of Smith asking to come out as gay.

A story published by Gawker Wednesday alleges that Smith was taken off of the primetime-aired “Fox Report” after attending Fox News topper Roger Ailes’ annual Fourth of July picnic with his reported boyfriend. Gawker’s story reports that around the same time, Smith was renegotiating his contract with the network and that he had asked Ailes for the go-ahead to publicly acknowledge his sexuality.

In a joint statement, Ailes and Smith called the story “100% false and a complete fabrication.”

“As colleagues and close friends at Fox News for 18 years, our relationship has always been rooted in a mutual respect, deep admiration, loyalty, trust, and full support both professionally and personally,” it read.

The Gawker story alleged that Smith’s superior Bill Shine, the channel’s Executive Vice President of Programming, “flipped out” when the anchor began introducing his boyfriend to co-workers at the party, but a spokesperson for Fox News said that Shine wasn’t even at the Fourth of July party and that “no such meeting ever took place in regard to Shep, nor would it ever.”

Smith, in fact, is overseen by Jay Wallace, senior vice president of news. Shine runs opinion and programming at the network.

The spokesperson also pointed out that Smith’s new contract was signed June 7 and first reported by Business Insider July 2, making the alleged negotiations “impossible.”

Smith was named managing editor of the cabler’s news division last year and his “Studio B” program, airing at 3 p.m., was renamed “Shepard Smith Reporting.”

He has been at the cable news network since 1996.


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  1. rscp1254 says:

    unprofessional,biased,and a smart alec who tries to be too cute with his sarcastic reporting. he should be removed from fox news so he can go to one of the left wing news outlets.

  2. Poorlilshep says:

    If this lil punk would just READ HIS TELEPROMPTER instead of infusing his own personal issues of well..a-z, I would watch fox at 3pm.. This guy actually made fun of the Benghazi investigations with his usual smart a** inflection, not that he ever served, let alone risked anything more that ‘coming out’ (heavy stuff lil) However, he looked and sounded giddy when reporting about gay licensing in KY… news flash Sheppard; u didn’t need to ‘come out’… we’ve known all along.. BIG DEAL! Who cares what you do between the sheets, WE DONT! We just want news – Why fox keeps this guy is beyond us- CNN would b a better place 4 him… You not cute, smart, nor awesome Sheppard – just another dude, or girl, whatever u wanna be! Same boat as beckle, williams, roginsky etc.. get in boat so we can say goodbye to u and launch it and you at high tide with some water, jerky and jellybeans..Annoying lil twit. Now go do some knitting or whatever it is you do… freak-

  3. suibne says:

    are you actually using gawker as a go to source? Holy crp…..and here I am trying to be civil.

    • Davis says:

      Sorry but sometimes Gawker does get it right (such as they stuff they’ve posted about Bill O’Reilly’s divorce. Gawker was first to find out about many of the things happening there). Just because Gawker doesn’t like FOX News (and vice versa) doesn’t always mean they are just making stuff up or posting gossip.

  4. BangStick says:

    I thought he was okay in the beginning. Then, around the time of the Gulf War his lefty leanings started to show more. Then I started to suspect he was gay. Then he really started to suck.

    Keep that crap in the closet. Release him for poor performance.

  5. John says:

    And that says it all right there. Any wonder why they would hold on him speaking out if he is. Here’s your example.

  6. Leon A Davis says:

    Consider the source. Gawker has always hated Fox News. Of course they’re going to print crap. I highly doubt Ailes or anyone else at Fox gives a snot who Shep chooses to get off with. I imagine what they do care about is when the talent gets bigger than the story. If you look at other networks some of the biggest stories are about the talent getting cancer or coming out or getting into fights with other talent or whatever. The Today Show is all about Matt Lauer. Jill Abramson got canned at the NYT in part because she made the job all about her status as executive editor. Anderson Cooper does it right. It’s all about the story.

  7. John says:

    I don’t think Variety is making a big deal out of it. Have you forgotten what Network this is? It might become a potential problem for Fox for one reason and one reason only. Much of their audience probably wouldn’t react to kindly to the news and that may mean ratings. If you choose to gloss over that fact, your fooling yourself.

    • Davis says:

      Exactly, John. This is the network that has many who talking heads and guest who still think it’s okay that gay people have no legal protection in some states when it comes to employer discrimination.

    • John says:

      And I guarantee you most of middle America that tune into Fox have NO IDEA he’s gay. There not good about being informed. lol

    • John says:

      The Fox audience is not that scary. LOL

  8. kknc22 says:

    Not necessarily. It’s not like Fox would admit it if there was any truth to it.

  9. Jen says:

    Haha equating hard news to Fox News. That’s really funny!

  10. Kathy says:

    What does his being gay have to do with anything!!!!! It doesn’t matter, gay or straight, he’s a good journalist. Anderson Cooper is not a good journalist.
    Why must news outlets like Variety make a big deal out of someone’s sexuality, race, or whatever other topic is big in the political climate.

    • kknc22 says:

      If there is any truth to the story of him having to “ask if he could come out”, then it means that FOX is making a big deal about “someone’s sexuality”.

      • Sammie Jo says:

        I agree, I couldn’t possibly care less what Shep does in his bedroom, or anyone else for that matter.
        If Shep doesn’t think that the majority of people figured out a long, long time ago that he was gay, then he thinks we’re stupid.

  11. tdoa says:

    The biggest surprise to me is that a news network so beloved by right-wing bigots actually has an openly gay newscaster!

    • Steve Orpin says:

      I couldn’t care less about ANYONE’s sexuality. I didn’t feel it was necessary for Ellen to come out. I don’t feel it is necessary to put those train wreck Kardashians on TV with their stupid marriages either. I don’t care about the rumors about Tom Cruise, or Justin Bieber, or anyone else.

      Entertainers are trained monkeys, as far as Im concerned. Sing and dance for me then shut your yap. The same thing with news people. Tell me the news. Do analysis if you are qualified and paid to do so. Then, leave your marriage, your sexual preferences, your troubled kids, your philandering spouse, your cute doggie, and your uninteresting (to me) personal life HOME.

      Is that too much to ask for?

  12. LOL @ “yet another failed attempt.”

    No, Fox News discredited itself years ago.

  13. Ann says:

    For Ruthann and the rest of you who are squawking about Shepard Smith being gay and his job at Fox News, if you read the above article carefully (I suspect many of you never got past the headline), it clearly states that Executive Vice President of Programming, Bill Shine, was not present at the July 4th party, so the reported “flipping out” could not have occurred. Moreover, it also states that Smith’s new contract had already been signed on June 7. Remember June comes before July?? Fox has better ratings than most, if not all, of the other cable news networks. Regardless of whether Shepard Smith is gay or not, I doubt it would leave itself open to charges of discrimination of any kind. It has too much to lose. Networks make programming changes for all sorts of reasons, like viewer demographics, ratings, salaries, staff requests, etc., that we may or may not like.

    Shepard Smith’s personal life is his business. If he wants to make it public, let him do it on his own. I believe it’s irresponsible of anyone, including The Gawker and Variety, to spread gossip or make judgements about him or Fox News like a knee-jerk reaction to unsubstantiated rumors. Fantastic headlines are made to suck people in, promote a point of view, and stir up controversy. Much of what’s posted on the internet is untrue and depends on the gullibility of the public. Haven’t you ever heard the saying, “Don’t believe everything you read”? The Gawker even advertises itself as “Today’s gossip”. That’s a clue to how reliable their stories are. Don’t be gullible. Use your brains and think for yourselves. Anyone who doesn’t know all the facts of the situation, and few people do, should keep quiet.

  14. Lisa Marie says:

    At the end of the day, does it matter if the guy or gal reporting the news is gay or straight? No, I don’t watch Fox, but if the man is gay, he’s gay. So what? If I go to Starbucks, I don’t wonder if the person fixing my coffee is gay or straight, because it doesn’t matter. Same with the guy reporting the news. His being gay isn’t responsible for insane gas prices, lack of jobs, the list goes on.

  15. partybasher says:

    Shepard Smith is the only person at FoxNoiuse I have any respect for. The others are just Republican controlled zombies that regurgitate GOP talking points, smear Democrats every chance they get, and can’t think for themselves. Smith is too good for the nitwits that watch Fox with IQ’s of burnt toast.

  16. Ruthann Lloyd says:

    I watch Fox News since it came on the air…I’m 70 yrs old wife & grandmother, and I don’t care if Shepard is GAY…no one should…he’s a professional and I like his bantering humor. Also, his style of News Reporting is refreshing than the stiff neck anchors of the past…What is FOX NEWS THINKING??…oh they’re not…I my faithfulness in FOX NEWS is not what I thought it was…so is it’s not a Fair & Balance, and FREE thinking..Right? BIG MISTAKE FOX NEWS…BIG MISTAKE!!! Put Shepard Smith back where he belongs…in his old news time slot and program …has the whole network of FOX NEWS lost their minds…so you’re telling me there are NO ANOTHER GAY people that work at FOX NEWS…get real…the person that should be replaced is Shepard ‘s boss.!!!

    • Richard says:

      I like shep I like him for his work his tallent his skill on delivering new debates issues his views on them not his sexuality

  17. Steve says:

    Shep Smith is a professional. His reporting style is unique and entertaining. I could care less about his sexual orientation. I look at his move as a promotion to the ‘GO TO Anchor’ at FNC. Continue to do your good reporting Shep!

  18. Tjkennedy says:

    The only sane person at Faux “news”

  19. nancy says:

    Who cares if the guy is straight, gay, whatever as long as he does his job in a professional manner. I don’t like his smart ass condescending comments. I know he thinks he’s funny, but his biting comments are hits and I don’t like it. He needs to learn how to be REALLY professional.

  20. nancy eichberg says:

    I never liked this guy. His comments are sometimes snarky and petty. I don’t see him as a professional. I’m glad he’s off.

  21. USAFmedicVET says:

    I don’t know that Shepherd Smith is gay. He hasn’t spoken about it, or anything regarding his personal life except the fact that he LOVES ol’ Miss and Oxford Mississippi. So how do all those who say they “knew” and “of course he’s gay” actually KNOW? He’s excellent during breaking news; he’s very detail oriented, and presents the daily news in an informing, relaxed, and entertaining manner. What aspect of those things make it so clearly obvious that the man is gay?
    Those who say they know just make themselves seem ridiculous! And for gay man, he sure knows everything there is to know about sports, and attends every ol’ Miss football game! I don’t know too many gay men who do that. So, still unclear on how “everybody knows”…maybe everybody reads Gawker and believes RUMORS!

  22. Manny Reznick says:

    The bottom line is this. Does Shep bring in the ratings regardless of his gender preference? News station will not keep a presenter who can’t pull in the ratings. Outing people is despicable.

    • Davis says:

      “And for gay man, he sure knows everything there is to know about sports, and attends every ol’ Miss football game! I don’t know too many gay men who do that.”

      Geez, I can’t believe you just said that. Stereotype much, dude?

  23. Derek says:

    Whether he is gay or not, doesn’t matter. Would he deliver the news differently if he were out as gay? No. As some other readers of this story have noted, it’s his personal business, not ours or Fox’s. Just like who cares if Gretchen Carlson is single or married with kids? It doesn’t change the way she does news.

    • Davis says:

      Shep has a steady boyfriend and lots of people have seen them together. He just hasn’t come out in a public sense in that he talks openly about it. Nor do most FOX News viewers know he is gay and his employers at FOX News want to keep it that way. He is good at what he does for FOX News and if he wants to come out, FOX News and his co-workers should support him. Worrying about whether people would turn against him personally and/or professionally because he comes out is something that no gay person should have to worry about.

      Btw, Gretchen Carlson does not do “news”. She does an opinion show with a strong pro-conservative bias disguised as “news” of the day. And a lot of people care about Gretchen’s personal life (or at least she thinks they do). She has mentioned her husband and her kids many times (especially when she was on F&F). But should Shep decide to come out, I doubt that he will be allowed to talk about the man he loves and his personal life the way Gretchen (and Doocy, Kilmeade, etc.) do. No, the FOX News suits and the viewer base will freak out if Shep talks about his personal life.

    • Manny Reznick says:

      I’m amazed how some people claim to be clairvoyant. You have no idea what Shep would do.

  24. Anne Nelson says:

    Who cares!

  25. djm159 says:

    Is there any person alive who doesn’t know he’s gay? Who cares?

  26. Toure the dbag says:

    Love the foxnews haters! Lmfao!

  27. Joe says:

    Holy Cow! Shepard Smith is gay? I would have never guessed that in a million years. said no one.

  28. albert8184 says:

    Fox isn’t conservative. You just think they are.

  29. Larry Croft says:

    In this 21st century, I doubt that many people care.

  30. Phil says:

    What a surprise, said no one. I like Shep well enough and I doubt anyone would care if he came out.

  31. I always felt something was not right about him. I never liked him or his reporting.

    • Davis says:

      You “felt something was not right about him” — why? Because it’s being reported that he might be gay? It’s seems that’s there’s more to it for you than your not liking him or his reporting.

  32. Jules says:

    Come on, who didn’t know Smith was gay? It’s common knowledge.

    • El Gato says:

      I didn’t because I don’t think about it. Just like I don’t think about a person being black. If they do a good job, their personal life is their own.

  33. johndeveraux says:

    A “Gawker” article???? Really? Variety is using that as a basis for this article? Why not just totally fabricate a story? Sheesh!

  34. Wellington H. MacDougall-Lemmer IV says:

    I am a married straight male. I do not care with Shep Smith is gay or straight, I just hope Fox News will retain him as I watch the Shep Report daily at 1400 since my retirement. Go Ole Miss………

  35. Pat Madison says:

    I get the idea that Shep is the one on call 24/7, when an emergency necessitates a full time staffer to come on when pre recorded shows are on…..Shep is almost always the One.

    He may be gay. He does not rub your nose in it. He is an excellent hard news reporter and he has always has been. When it is scary times on TV……..I like to hear him and Lou Dobbs. I think they report the news. Not spin it.

  36. Amy Brown says:

    Sheppard stinks! he is the biggest phony on T.V. and now has attempted to play Paul Harvey and again he is a joke.! Why Fox news keeps him on is beyond me. HE NEEDS TO GO!!

  37. Genie says:

    Most of you pinheads on here wouldn’t know “fair and balanced” if it jumped up and bit you in the A$$

  38. Allen Young says:

    NO ONE WHO’S IMPORTANT CARES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. Lisa Marie says:

    Why would any self-respecting gay man or woman work for FOX? Why would anyone work for FOX?

  40. Shepard Smith is a damn fine newsman, and if he were gay it is HIS business not ours or Fox’s. Fox will lose quite a few followers if Smith is gone.

  41. It’s not news that Smith is gay. I tend to believe its BS also

  42. partybasher says:

    I wouldn’t put anything past FoxNoise. Roger Ailes would probably demote anyone who went against the natural order of things in Ailes warped mind. Add to the fact that Smith is gay is the fact that Smith sometimes has a mind of his own, and doesn’t follow the crackpot conservative line ala Hannity, O’Reilly and the other clowns that infestate that “network”.

    • It seems that those people you put down as crackpot make mostly perfect sense. Ever watch fox news? Apparently not!

      • Shep says:

        So only people with IQs over 40 watch Fox News? I’ve been saying that for a long time… Thanks for calling it like it is and keep on believing in MSNBC! Their ratings have no where to go but up.

      • partybasher says:

        I don’t watch propaganda like FixedNoise, and no one else except the sheep and with IQ’s over 40 watch it either. Which category are you Anastasia??

  43. Definetly not a revelation!

  44. Who is it exactly that cares if he is gay? If I had cable and could watch him, I’d only care if he did his job well. His personal life is none of my business.

  45. Jim Spriggs says:

    “Obviously Variety has taken the bait.”

    How so, pops? Variety is reporting on the Gawker story, then introducing statements and facts that blow the story up into a pile of baloney. I thought that was obvious.

    “rumors by harry reid???????”

    Yes, Linda, Harry Reid is widely known as the Orly Taitz of the U.S. Senate (face-palm).

    I agree with you, Kenny, if I had to watch Fox “News” it would be during Shep Smith’s time slot.

  46. pops07 says:

    Why would any thinking individual ever believe anything spewed out by Gawker? Obviously Variety has taken the bait.

  47. Kenny says:

    The info in this article is misleading. Shep always had the 3pm show (formerly known as Studio B) in addition to the “Fox Report” at 7pm. Then Megyn Kelly was promoted, the rest of the primetime hosts signed new deals, so Shep had to give up primetime to make room. If you want to call that a demotion, fine, but state the facts first.

    It’s too bad, ’cause the “Fox Report” was the one show on Fox that truly lived up to that “Fair and Balanced” tagline.

  48. Holden says:

    Come out? Was he ever in?

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