Fox News' Shepard Smith Denies Report That He Was Demoted For Wanting To Come Out Of The Closet
Gawker has attempted to out Fox News personality Shepard Smith as gay for years, and that was no different this morning. In a post titled "How Fox News Shoved Shepard Smith Back Into The Closet," Gawker's J.K. Trotter cites "several sources" who claim the host attempted to come out as gay in the summer of 2013 but was silenced by the network.
In the summer of 2013, according to multiple sources with knowledge of their exchange, Shepard Smith approached Fox News president Roger Ailes about publicly coming out. The newly attached anchor was eager, at the time, to finally acknowledge his sexuality. “It’s time,” he told Ailes and other colleagues. “It’s time.”
Instead, Ailes informed Smith that the network’s famously conservative audience would not tolerate a gay news anchor. Ailes’ answer was definitive: Smith could not say he’s gay.
“This came up during contract negotiations,” a Fox insider told Gawker. “Shep wanted to and was ready to come out, and Roger just said no.”
Smith, one of Ailes’s first and most loyal disciples, acquiesced to his boss’s demand, and dropped the matter. But the discussion worried enough Fox executives to prompt Smith’s removal, in September 2013, from the channel’s coveted prime-time lineup. According to a Fox insider with direct knowledge of negotiations, Smith’s desire to come out was a large factor in the dramatic move.
“They tried to play it up as a big promotion,” the insider said. “But everyone knew that Shep was getting demoted. And the coming out thing was a significant part of that.”
What's different about Gawker's obsession with Smith this time around is that both he and Ailes have issued a response to deny the allegations.
“This story is 100% false and a complete fabrication,” the Fox News pair write in a joint statement. "As colleagues and close friends at Fox News for 18 years, our relationship has always been rooted in a mutual respect, deep admiration, loyalty, trust, and full support both professionally and personally.”
What do you think, Instincters? Is Gawker on to something or should this be left alone?