Fox is using Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood tape to train employees about harassment

There was reportedly an “audible gasp” when the tape was shown.

CREDIT: screengrab, Washington Post/NBC
CREDIT: screengrab, Washington Post/NBC

21st Century Fox is reportedly using the infamous tape of Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women to train workers about harassment, despite the fact that personalities at the company’s media outlet — Fox News — defended Trump after the remarks were made public.

According to a Fox employee who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter, the tape has been used for months during instructional seminars designed to educate staff about harassment in the workplace. In the tape, Trump is heard speaking with Billy Bush during in a 2005 taping of Access Hollywood, describing how he propositioned a married actress and could grab women “by the p***y” because “when you’re a star…You can do anything.”

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The employee told the Reporter there was an “audible gasp” when the tape was played during the seminar, after which the instructor “went through the scenario of the tape, why it was harassment and why it’s something you should report.”

The employee told the Reporter there was an “audible gasp” when the tape was played during the seminar, after which the instructor “went through the scenario of the tape, why it was harassment and why it’s something you should report.”

It is unclear if the tape has been used at for seminars at Fox News, which is currently embroiled in a sexual assault scandal, but the employee implied the irony was not lost on participants.

While most Fox News personalities condemned Trump’s comments after the tape was released in October 2016, some downplayed their importance and defended Trump. Fox hosts Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro, for instance, called Trump’s remarks “wrong,” but framed it as “locker room talk” and deflected to a conversation about Bill Clinton’s infidelities. Similarly, Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly called the comments “embarrassing,” but also described it as “crude guy talk” and framed it as a partisan attack.

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At the time, Fox News was already reeling after former CEO Roger Ailes was forced to resign in 2016 in the wake of allegations that he made unwanted sexual advances on female employees, and later damaged their careers after being rebuffed. Other reports alleged that Ailes led an internal campaign to intimidate his opponents and dissuade other women from going public with their own stories of harassment.

But the scandals have kept coming: news broke earlier this week that O’Reilly paid five women roughly $13 million to address complaints that he had sexually harassed them. More than 40 companies have since announced that they will stop advertising on his show.