He's finally free!
Fox News anchor Shepard Smith came out as gay on Monday, October 17. After years of speculation by various news outlets like Gawker, Smith finally feel comfortable with sharing his sexuality with his viewers.
Of course, working for a conservative network most likely hindered him doing it earlier, didn’t it? Now, people are assuming that there was tension with former Fox News CEO, Roger Ailes, founder of the channel. But what did Smith have to say about Ailes and is it a conflict of interest for the conservative outlet?
Going Against Fox’s Views?
Fox News has only become more conservative in its reporting and opinions over time. The average age of its viewer is 74, so it’s easy to assume that the channel and its viewership would be anti-LGBT.
But one should note that Fox News has recruited openly gay journalists at job fairs. Even highly opinionated Bill O’Reilly said he supports gay rights to The Advocate in 2002. In addition, Fox News was among the high-level sponsors of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association’s Convention in 2006.
Who is Shepard Smith?
In case you’re like me and have no clue what goes on at Fox News, apart from what The Daily Show plays, Shep Smith, 52, is one of the lead anchors for the station. In 2013, he became managing editor of Fox News Channel’s Breaking News Division. He is so valuable to the station that he earns about $8 million a year.
In his personal life, he was married to a woman, Virginia Donald, from 1987 to 1993.
Smith’s former boss was Roger Ailes. Ailes has been a pivotal member of the conservative media for decades, serving as media consultant for Republican Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and also former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In fact, Ailes is credited with first understanding the sensational power of TV media coverage in the political realm, a fact which he and Nixon discovered and was the foundation of Fox News.
Ailes started Fox News in 1996. He turned the station around in 2005, replacing programs, redesigning the studios, and making format changes. His contract was up for renewal in 2016, which would have extended his stay for twenty more years, but instead he resigned because of sexual harassment allegations from various employees.