Fox News Channel anchor Shepard Smith has come out as gay in a new interview.
The interview, conducted by the Huffington Post and published Monday, delves into the 52-year old Smith’s sexuality within the context of the sexual harassment allegations made against his former boss, Roger Ailes.
“No, never. He treated me with respect, just respect,” said Smith responding to whether or not Ailes ever made any disparaging comments about his sexuality.
He continued, “I wasn’t new in the business when I came here ― I’d been doing reporting for 12 years ― but I wasn’t old in it either, and he gave me every opportunity in the world and he never asked anything of me but that we get it right, try to get it right every day. It was a very warm and loving and comfortable place.”
While Smith has not spoken a lot publicly about his sexuality, he has been listed in Out Magazine in the past.
Smith has also been the subject of several Gawker pieces regarding his sexuality over the years, including a report back in April 2014 that claimed he had been demoted at Fox because he was told not to publicly come out of the closet.
Smith denied the claims.
“I came to fox news 18 years ago because they agreed to hire me,” Smith said in an email responding to the Gawker article.
“I’ve stayed with fox news because of my relationship with Roger Ailes. He’s my boss, my friend and my steadfast supporter both professionally and personally.”
Smith went on to call the Gawker article “horses—t” and “phony.”
The 20-year veteran of the Fox News Channel reiterated the falseness of that Gawker report from 2014 and once again defended his ex-boss.
Responding to the suggestion that Ailes had forced him not to come out of the closet, Smith said, “That’s not true. He was as nice as he could be to me. I loved him like a father.”
Smith said that it was precisely because of his close relationship with Ailes that it was so devastating for him to learn about the multiple allegations of sexual harassment against the longtime Fox News head honcho.
“I trusted him with my career and with ― I trusted him and trusts were betrayed. People outside this company can’t know [how painful that betrayal was]. This place has its enemies, but inside, it was very personal, and very scarring and horrifying,” he said.
Smith, who was one of the only anchors at Fox News to discuss the Ailes sexual harassment issue on-air, believes in the aftermath, the network must make sure it cleans up its workplace culture.
“It’s not over,” he said.
“This was a real shock to the system, and it upended a lot of things that we thought we knew. We were wounded and horrified and very emotional, and we realize that as leaders we need to come in and face up to what we’ve learned … We have to make sure there aren’t young victims wandering around here who need us. We have to get appropriate counselors in here. We have to make sure legally everybody’s protected and have to make a commitment to be the most transparent, open and welcoming organization of our kind in the world, and I’m determined to be a part of the team that makes it happen.”
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