Fox News Channel suspended Eric Bolling, a host and contributor whose on-air presence at the 21st Century Fox-owned network had been growing in recent months, after allegations surfaced that he had harassed colleagues at the cable-news network. He is the latest in a number of Fox News personnel to have become embroiled in controversy.
A Huffington Post report earlier this week disclosed allegations Bolling had sent lewd messages to colleagues via smartphone.
“Eric Bolling has been suspended pending the results of an investigation, which is currently underway,” the network said in a statement.
Bolling, a former commodities trader and best-selling author, had been a longtime co-host of “The Five,” and more recently helped launch a new late-afternoon show, “The Fox News Specialists.” He also anchors the Fox News program “Cashin’ In.”
The allegations are the most recent to surface against employees at Fox News, which has worked in recent months to purge itself of the corporate culture fostered by former CEO Roger Ailes.
A legendary figure in the TV-news business, Ailes was in 2016 accused of sexual harassment by former anchor Gretchen Carlson, resulting in a probe that led to his ouster. Ailes, who died earlier this year, denied the allegations. Bill O’Reilly, the linchpin of the network’s primetime lineup, left in April after allegations surfaced of settlements paid to stop harassment allegations. Co-president Bill Shine, who had been accused in sundry lawsuits of not taking harassment accusations seriously, left the network in May.
Fox Business replaced an episode of “Cashin’ In” that was pre-taped with a live half hour news broadcast, pulling Bolling’s broadcast after the allegations surfaced. Both Fox News and Fox Business expect to use rotating substitute hosts in Bolling’s place.
“Over most of last year, we had six of the top eight management positions turn over, and three of the four primetime people left. Some of that has been planned, but most has been unplanned. We’ve had big shifts,” Abernethy told Variety last month. “We have been tasked with putting in new people and training people and sending a signal that there’s a new environment.”
Fox News has placed new female executives in several senior roles, and expanded its human-resources outreach.
The continuing allegations raise issues for the network’s parent company, which is working to acquire the rest of European broadcaster Sky PLC that it does not already own. Attorneys for several employees who have sued Fox News and activists have used the accusations to suggest British regulators not approve the proposed transaction, which remains under government review.