Bill Shine, who has served as Fox News co-president since Roger Ailes’ disgraced departure last year, resigned from the network on Monday amid accusations that he enabled a culture of sexual harassment there. 21st Century Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch announced in a memo to network employees that Shine, who was “respected and liked by everybody at Fox News,” would be replaced by Suzanne Scott on the programming side and Jay Wallace in news.
Shine was implicated in several of the recent lawsuits and allegations of sexual harassment against Ailes and Bill O’Reilly. Former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros alleged that she suffered mistreatment at the hands of both Ailes and O’Reilly, and that Shine was a major player in the cover-up. A lawsuit Tantaros filed last August contends that she was blocked from prime-time shows and targeted on social media after confronting Ailes about his inappropriate behavior. When she brought her complaint to Shine, Tantaros says, he told her Ailes was “a very powerful man,” so she should not “fight this” and just “let this one go.” She also claims that Shine continued to book former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown on a show with her after Shine ignored Tantaros’ report of his alleged physical and verbal sexual harassment.
Tantaros has also accused Shine and other Fox News executives of hacking her electronic devices to spy on her and use information gathered to harass her online after she came out against Ailes. In a recent gender discrimination lawsuit, Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky named Shine as having “aided and abetted Ailes’ acts of retaliation and harassment” by pressuring her into defending Ailes, failing to tell her about the internal investigation of Ailes’ wrongdoing, and retaliating against her when she didn’t comply with his request to come to Ailes’ defense.
According to New York’s Gabriel Sherman, the most reliable source of reporting on the ongoing Fox News scandal, Shine was also mentioned in the accusations of Laurie Luhn, a former Fox News booker who was allegedly abused by Ailes for many years. Luhn claims that Shine arranged for her to travel to New York for trysts with Ailes, and when she suffered mental health troubles as a result of Ailes’ alleged abuse, Shine tried to get her to see a psychiatrist. Sherman has also reported allegations that Shine was involved in justifying the potentially retaliatory firing of Rudi Bakhtiar, another alleged Ailes victim, and goading women into the sort of confidential mediations and nondisclosure agreements that allow sexual harassment to fester unpunished.
Shine’s resignation looks like another sign of the Murdoch family’s desperation in the midst of mounting accusations of systemic abuse at the network. The Murdochs fired O’Reilly, the network’s biggest star, two weeks ago, and are evidently trying to appear more committed to addressing the pattern of discrimination and abuse claims they’ve ignored for the past two decades. Perhaps they’re worried about their current attempt to take over Sky News, which may be compromised by the appearance of poor governance at their other companies. Sean Hannity, one of Fox News’ few remaining big names, suggested Friday on Twitter that if Shine got the boot, it would be “the total end of [Fox News] as we know it.” One can only hope.