Fox News throws stones at Hollywood from glass house

It's hard to score points on a harassment scandal when your network is under investigation for its culture of harassment.


In the wake of multiple women coming forward to accuse movie producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson blamed Democrats for enabling his behavior, and called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to launch an investigation into Hollywood’s “culture of systemic sexual abuse.”

During a monologue on the Wednesday night installment of his show that was later promoted on Fox News’ website and Twitter account, Carlson claimed that liberals’ alleged cover-up of Weinstein’s behavior is an even bigger scandal than the underlying misconduct.

“The bigger scandal is the reactions to it, or lack of reaction,” Carlson said. “Harvey Weinstein isn’t just a movie producer — he’s a political figure on the left, a major donor to the Democratic party, a personal friend to countless liberal activists and politicians.”

Carlson singled out liberals in Hollywood in general and Hillary Clinton in particular for responsibility.

“Those actors who lecture you from the Oscar podium every year about their virtue and your lack of it? Suddenly silent. Hillary Clinton, traveling on a book tour, whose whole purpose is to call out sexism in American society? She said not a single word about her old friend Harvey Weinstein for five full days,” he said. “The truth is Weinstein could never have gotten away with any of those without enablers like Hillary Clinton and the rest of the so-called creative community in Hollywood.”

Carlson called for an immediate federal investigation, citing the Obama administration’s efforts to crack down on sexual assaults on college campuses — efforts the Trump administration has signaled it may reverse.


“It is time for the federal government to get involved,” Carlson continued. “The Department of Justice should launch an immediate investigation into Hollywood’s culture of systematic sexual abuse. There’s ample precedent for this — under the Obama administration, the Department of Education launched more than 300 investigations into schools across the country… all of them sought to expose and publish schools it said violated federal law be enabling sexual harassment and assault.”

There’s just one problem — Fox News is currently under federal investigation for its own sexual assault scandal. As CNN reported in April, the investigation began with a probe into “settlements made with women who alleged sexual harassment by former Fox News boss Roger Ailes, and questions about whether Fox had a duty to inform shareholders about the settlement payments,” but expanded to include an investigation into possible financial crimes as well. Ailes was publicly accused of sexual harassment by 10 women, and privately accused of misconduct by at least 20 more.

Days before CNN reported on the widening federal probe into Fox News, longtime Fox News host Bill O’Reilly was ousted from his top-rated show on the heels of a New York Times report about multiple sexual harassment lawsuits he had been hit with that resulted in $13 million in settlements. Months later, longtime Fox News host Eric Bolling lost his job with the network after the Huffington Post broke news that he had sent lewd text messages to female colleagues.

While Carlson is now attacking liberals for not doing more about sexual misconduct, he praised O’Reilly during the first show after he took over his old Fox News timeslot in late April, and didn’t mention the disgraced ex-host’s sexual harassment scandal.


“What O’Reilly did was not easy,” Carlson said. “He set a high bar, and I’m going to do my best to meet it. Thanks for sticking with us.”

On the occasion of Ailes’ death less than a month later, Carlson characterized him as “a huge figure here and in American life.”

“Roger always rooted for the underdog,” Carlson said. “While others kissed up and kicked down, Roger Ailes always did the opposite. He was kinder to the cleaning crew than he was to presidential candidates — I saw that.”

Carlson never mentioned the more than 30 women — including former Fox News employees — who accused Ailes of sexual misconduct.

So Carlson’s monologue was deeply hypocritical — he cashes checks from a network that has no moral high ground to stand on when it comes to sexual misconduct. How did he deal with this? By suggesting that while other sexual assault accusers may be lying, Weinstein’s certainly are not.

“Not all accusations of sexual harassment are real — this one is,” he said on his Wednesday show.

Carlson isn’t the only current Fox News anchor who has attempted to score points off the Weinstein scandal, despite the network’s own issues. On Tuesday, Sean Hannity denounced liberals who allegedly turned a blind eye to Weinstein’s misconduct as “beyond despicable, beyond shameful.” But on September 26, Hannity provided O’Reilly with an opportunity to return to Fox News and frame his departure from the network as the result of a campaign waged by “totalitarians.”

The Trump administration is struggling with this problem as well. White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway has repeatedly tried to implicate Democrats in the Weinstein scandal, despite the fact that her boss — President Trump — has been recorded bragging about sexual assault, and has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 12 women.