Greta Van Susteren is out at Fox News, leaving the company last week and offering a mea culpa to former colleague Gretchen Carlson on her way out.
After Carlson filed a sexual harassment suit against Ailes, Van Susteren initially offered doubts as to the legitimacy of the claims, supporting Ailes and downplaying any reports from Carlson … or the 20 other women who came forward with similar complaints.
At the time Van Susteren said, “I found (Carlson’s complaints) inconsistent with what was my experience and information at the Fox News Channel, admittedly working 200 miles from the ‘scene of the crimes.’ It was hidden from all of us…”
Now changing her tune Van Susteren did not stop by apologizing to Carlson. She took aim at Fox, and the Murdoch family, pointing to “suspicious checks” that should have been seen and investigated.
“I regret that Roger Ailes was not supervised by those in a public corporation who had the duty to supervise him… This included his seniors, the CFO’s of both Fox News Channel and 21CF (and its predecessor NewsCorp), the Board of Directors, and what I assume this public corporation had, outside auditors…” Van Susteren said on her Facebook page.
Now, according to some sources, Van Susteren is considering a lawsuit against Fox, though the content of that potential suit was not disclosed. But that’s not the only change that has some media watchers calling this a “shakeup.”
Brit Hume now sits in the anchor chair recently vacated by Van Susteren, a man taking over from yet another woman who has parted ways with Fox in rather acrimonious fashion. Hume is capable, but from a PR perspective, he’s in a tough spot. Everyone knows why he’s there, and why so many of his former colleagues are not. Sure, the guy has every right to both keep his job and advance in his career, but as these harassment allegations continue to build, there could come a point where everyone wearing pants at Fox is tarred by the accusations leveled at Ailes as well as the network’s failure to deal with or uncover it earlier.
Bottom line, from a PR perspective, this situation is just getting started, and the fallout is likely far from over. Trust, in the media business, is paramount…and Fox has some ground to make up.