Fox News Co-President Bill Shine Resigns

May 1, 2017
Originally published on May 1, 2017 6:20 pm

Fox News co-President Bill Shine has resigned and will leave the network within a few weeks, Fox News announced Monday afternoon.

Shine's departure is part of the aftershocks of the sexual harassment scandal that has gripped the network since last summer, leading to the departure of former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes last July and of star host Bill O'Reilly last month.

Shine will be replaced by his longtime deputy, Suzanne Scott, who becomes president of programming, and Jay Wallace, the executive vice president for news who now becomes president of news. Both have been with the network since 1996, its year of inception.

While Shine has never been accused of harassment himself, a growing number of women at Fox News have alleged, some of them in court documents, that he was aware of deeply inappropriate behavior against them and deflected, ignored or sought to suppress their concerns rather than take actions to address them constructively.

The recent lawsuits of Fox News commentator Julie Roginsky and suspended Fox News host Andrea Tantaros allege that Shine's dismissive behavior regarding such accusations continued after Ailes' departure.

Shine's resignation comes on a day that a Fox News personality sued the network, accusing it of bias. Diana Falzone said she was banned from its shows in late January after she wrote an online column about suffering from endometriosis, a reproductive health disease that she said would likely leave her infertile. In court papers filed Monday, Falzone's attorneys wrote that the revelation "detracted from her sex appeal and made her less desirable" in the eyes of the "male-dominated senior management of Fox News."

The 86-year-old Rupert Murdoch has actively led the network as acting CEO since Ailes' departure. While he remains a figure who generates great affection within the workforce, Shine's resignation shows the elder Murdoch has failed to get the sense of scandal and uncertainty at the network under control.

And questions are unlikely to die down. The new president for programming, Suzanne Scott, has also been accused by some Fox News women in court of trying to intimidate them or minimize their complaints, as has the network's chief lawyer, Dianne Brandi.

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Fox News co-president Bill Shine is out of a job today. He's the latest casualty in a sexual harassment scandal that has shaken the nation's top-rated cable news network. Shine was named to replace his longtime boss, Roger Ailes. But as NPR's David Folkenflik reports, Shine found himself accused by many women of enabling Ailes's conduct.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: Bill Shine was a Roger Ailes loyalist all the way, helping him take the conservative news and opinion channel further to the right in the age of the Obama White House, as Shine once explained to me back in 2009.


BILL SHINE: There were a couple of people who basically wrote about our demise come last November, December and were, I guess, rooting for us to go away.

FOLKENFLIK: At the time, Shine was Fox's senior vice president for programming. As he told me, Fox used Obama to cement its definition with conservative viewers as an alternative to the rest of the press.


SHINE: With this particular group of people in power right now and the honeymoon they've had from other members of the media, does it make it a little bit easier for us to be the voice of opposition on some issues?

FOLKENFLIK: Shine's answer was obviously yes. He wasn't so talkative when I asked him for comment 10 days ago at a gala thrown by the Hollywood Reporter, nor did he respond to requests for comment today. Shine came up as a producer for Sean Hannity and talk radio before they joined Fox News in 1996. Last week on Twitter, Hannity said Shine's firing would be the total end of Fox News. An executive at 21st Century Fox, the network's parent company, said Hannity's loyalty had no effect on the decision by the controlling Murdoch family.

Nancy Erika Smith tells NPR that Bill Shine was part and parcel of the problem. Smith was the attorney who represented Gretchen Carlson. Carlson's sexual harassment lawsuit last summer led to a $20 million payout from Fox and to the ouster of Ailes. Smith also represents Fox News commentator Julie Roginsky. Roginsky alleges in court that Shine retaliated against her for failing to attack Carlson for making the harassment allegations even though Ailes had sexually harassed Roginsky, too. Ailes denies those charges.

Shine's familiarity with high-profile Fox News figures was said to be invaluable, yet damaging revelations kept coming, not just about Ailes but about host Bill O'Reilly, too. Fox News's leadership, including Shine, had been aware for years of multiple complaints against O'Reilly, its top-rated primetime star. A new complaint last month from an unpaid commentator named Wendy Walsh led to O'Reilly's ouster. Lisa Bloom was Walsh's lawyer. She spoke to me last month.


LISA BLOOM: It's absolutely shocking to me that there's this toxic culture at Fox News where they seem to think that paying out millions of dollars annually is just a normal part of doing business - it's not.

FOLKENFLIK: Shine's continued presence at the network was an unwelcome reminder that acting Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch's promises for sweeping change had not yet taken place. Shine's deputy, Suzanne Scott, was promoted today to be president of programming, yet Scott is cast in unfavorable light in several lawsuits.

The network's general counsel, Dianne Brandi, also remains on the job, yet she has been named as a defendant in sexual harassment lawsuits and a new racial harassment suit, as well. David Folkenflik, NPR News, New York.