Recently, Fox & Friends' hosts and guests have made a series of sexist comments to and about women. Indeed, Fox & Friends has a long history of sexism which also permeates throughout Fox News and mirrors a culture at parent company News Corp that has led to numerous sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits.
During Discussion Of “Mom Caves,” Kilmeade Asks Carlson, “Didn't Men Give You The Kitchen?” On the January 24 Fox & Friends, co-hosts Brian Kilmeade and Gretchen Carlson discussed sanctuary spaces in the home for men and women, during which Kilmeade asked Carlson, “Didn't men give you the kitchen?” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/24/11]
Fox & Friends' “Mom Cave” Promotes Sanctuary Space Where Women Can Relax By “Mak[ing] List[s] Of Things To Do.” At the end of the January 28 broadcast of Fox & Friends, the hosts headed outside to a custom-made “Mom Cave,” which purports to be a room in which woman can find sanctuary while “your man watches TV.” Interior designer Elaine Griffin, who coined the term “Mom Cave,” suggested the room could also serve as a place for women to “relax” and “make lists of things to do” while “your man is getting ready for the Super Bowl.” [Fox & Friends, 1/28/11]
Napolitano On “Hot New” GOP Rep. Kristi Noem: She's A “Good Looker, Too.” On the January 25 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox Business host Andrew Napolitano described Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) as a “good looker”:
BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Judge, I want to find out what's on your show tonight.
NAPOLITANO: Kristi Noem. That hot, new freshman member of Congress is going to be on to tell us why the president's State of the Union is just a pep rally.
KILMEADE: And Judge, when you say “hot,” you mean exciting, intellectual lawmaker.
NAPOLITANO: And a good looker, too.
NAPOLITANO: You want to come on set, Kilmeade?
KILMEADE: I'm thinking about it. [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 1/25/11]
O'Reilly Attributes Increased Criticism Of Bachmann And Palin To “Good-Looking Factor.” During a phone interview on the January 21 edition of Fox & Friends, Bill O'Reilly claimed that increased criticism of certain conservative women was due to something he described as the “good-looking factor” and stated that “the better looking these women are like Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, the more the left attacks them.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/21/11]
Kilmeade's Response To Senator McCaskill: “That Voice Goes Right Through Me.” During the December 17, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends, after airing a clip of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) criticizing Republicans for being hypocritical of earmarks, Kilmeade stated, “That voice goes right through me, I don't know about you.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/17/10]
Kilmeade's Advice To Sports Reporter Allegedly Harassed By Players: “Get A Whoopi Goldberg Outfit, Like A Big Tent.” During the September 17, 2010, broadcast of Fox & Friends, Kilmeade stated his advice for a sports reporter who had allegedly been harassed by New York Jets players: “Get a Whoopi Goldberg outfit, like a big tent.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/17/10]
Guest-Host Jerrick Reacts To Comments About Lindsay Lohan: “This May Not Be The First Time Lindsay's Been Spanked.” On the September 3, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends, after airing a clip of Jerry Lewis' remarks regarding his desire to “smack” and “spank” actress Lindsay Lohan, guest-host Mike Jerrick stated, “This may not be the first time Lindsay's been spanked.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/3/10]
Kilmeade Refers To Women As “Babes, Chicks,” And “Skirts” During Segment On Consumer Car Preference." During a June 22, 2010, Fox & Friends segment about which cars were most popular among women, Kilmeade referred to women as “babes, chicks,” and “skirts.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/22/10]
Kilmeade Teases Carmen Electra Appearance By Saying, “She Is A Wonderful Actress, And She's Got A Great Body.” On the April 30, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends, Kilmeade teased an upcoming segment with Carmen Electra by saying, “She is a wonderful actress, and she's got a great body.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/30/10]
Marc Rudov: “Dating Is Legal Prostitution.” On the July 27, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends, guest Marc Rudov stated that “dating is legal prostitution.” He further stated, “If women aren't going to show up unless they're bought and paid for, that's prostitution.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/27/10]
Limbaugh: “I Love Women. ... I Love The Women's Movement, Especially When Walking Behind It.” On the February 3, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends, guest Rush Limbaugh stated: “I'm a huge supporter of women. ... Feminism is what I oppose. Feminism has led women astray. I love women. I don't know how this all got started. I love the women's movement, especially when walking behind it.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/3/10]
Fox & Friends' Sexism Mirrors Fox News' Other Programming
Asman Admits “Hot Stocks” Segment Is “An Excuse” To Show Racy Photos Of Miss USA Contestants. On the May 15, 2010, edition of Fox News' Forbes on Fox, host David Asman teased a segment on “hot stock” tips by airing photographs of scantily clad Miss USA contests and saying, "They are hotter than those steamy photos taken for this weekend's Miss USA pageant. They're our informers 'hot stocks.' How about that for an excuse to show these pictures?" [Fox News, Forbes On Fox, 5/15/10]
Cavuto Teases “SEC Porn Shocker” Story With Porn Clips. On the April 29, 2010, broadcast of Fox News' Your World, host Neil Cavuto teased a story on a Security and Exchange Commission's Inspector General report which found that dozens of SEC employees viewed pornography on their work computers by airing clips of pornography videos. Cavuto stated of the SEC workers: “Well, let's just say, they got their happy ending.” [Fox News, Your World, 4/29/10, Associated Press, 4/22/10]
Cavuto's “Big, Big Business Story”: He's The First To Interview New Playmate Of the Year. On May 4, 2006, Cavuto interviewed Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and Playboy model Kara Monaco, who had just been named the 2006 Playmate of the Year. In introducing the segment, Cavuto offered a pre-emptive defense of the interview -- presumably to those who would question its suitability for a “financial program” -- saying: "[T]his really is a big, big business story. The winner becomes the new face of Playboy, itself an empire, for the next year, representing the company around the world and schmoozing with powerful business titans." The ensuing interview, however, was light on business discussion but featured plenty of scantily clad and nude (though obscured) footage of Monaco. [Fox News, Your World, 5/4/06]
Porn Star's Attendance At GOP Fundraiser Meant More Pole-Dancing On Your World. Just before adult film actress Mary Carey was to attend a March 16, 2006, fundraising dinner given by the National Republican Congressional Committee, Cavuto interviewed Carey about her professed intention to run for California governor for a second time in the upcoming election. Before hosting Carey on Your World, Cavuto teased the interview with video footage of Carey dressed in a French maid's uniform performing a pole dance. Over video footage of Carey pole-dancing, Cavuto informed viewers, “Her political platform included taxing breast implants and making lap dances tax deductible. But before you laugh at porn star Mary Carey, remember this: She placed 10th of 135 candidates running for California governor. Wait 'til you hear what she's up to now.” [Fox News, Your World, 3/16/06]
Cavuto's World Populated By Victoria's Secret, Playboy Models And A Pole-Dancing Pamela Anderson. As Media Matters previously noted, Fox News featured a series of photographs and videos of scantily clad or nude women on eight separate occasions between December 5, 2009, and December 15, 2009. Your World aired six out of eight of these segments. [Media Matters, 12/19/05]
O'Reilly Covers “The Great Breast Augmentation Scandal” To Air Gratuitous Boudoir B-Roll. On the July 14, 2009, broadcast of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly hosted a debate about a Norwegian model who was awarded a $500,000 default judgment stemming from a lawsuit in which she alleged a plastic surgeon put a photo of her breast on his website without permission. Throughout the segment, O'Reilly aired footage of the model dressed in lingerie. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 7/14/09]
O'Reilly Runs Scantily Clad B-Roll Of “Alleged Drug-Dealing Gang Leader.” On the February 26, 2010, broadcast of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly repeatedly aired footage of a woman in lingerie during a segment on an alleged Columbian “drug-dealing gang leader.” [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 2/26/10]
Fox News Illustrates Segments On Crime In Mexico With Footage Of Bikini-Clad Women. Following a February 20, 2009, State Department-issued travel alert regarding the increase of drug cartel-related violence in Mexico, Fox News' primetime programs ran several segments questioning whether Cancun and other Mexican resort cities are safe destinations for college students on spring break. Segments on Hannity,On the Record, and The O'Reilly Factor featured gratuitous video footage of young women in bikinis. [Media Matters, 3/13/09]
Miller Calls Out O'Reilly For Reporting On Mexico To “Show These Pictures Of” Girls In Bikinis. On the March 25, 2009, broadcast of The O'Reilly Factor, while video of girls in bikinis aired, O'Reilly asked Fox News contributor Dennis Miller if he would allow his sons to go on spring break in Mexico. Miller responded:
MILLER: I wouldn't let my kids go to Mexico, because you get the runs from the water. I mean, that's the simple fact.
But the other fact is kids are horny. And it's the same reason you show these pictures of the girls, because people at home love the pictures of young girls in bikinis. It's the same thing with my 17-, 18- year-old kid. He likes to see women in bikinis. I understand that part of it.
I just don't trust Mexico more because of the Guadalajara -- the drug war at the border. I mean, I don't trust Mexico because of the drug war and that sort of thing. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 3/25/09]
Ingraham Calls Out Fox News' “Midlife Crisis ... Among The Male Anchors.” During a 2007 broadcast of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly was ridiculed by guest Laura Ingraham for constantly airing gratuitous videos of scantily clad women. Ingraham stated: “I don't know if there's a rampant midlife crisis going on on this network among the male anchors, but I can tell you that my female listeners are basically saying ... what is the purpose? ... You can talk about cultural issues and cultural debates without running the constant loop of this video. It's ridiculous.” [The O'Reilly Factor, 2/1/07]
Breaking Previous Vow Of “No More Bikinis,” O'Reilly Airs Bikini Segment. During a February 10, 2010, promo for The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News teased a segment on “sexy snow angels,” “sultry skiers,” and “steamy snowboarders.” The women in question were Olympic athletes posing in bikinis for Sports Illustrated. [Media Matters, 2/10/10]
Rudov: “Men Are Depressed ... Because Men Are Allowing Women To Take Over The World.” During the March 26, 2008, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Rudov informed guest-host Laura Ingraham: “Men are depressed, and it's their own fault, because men are allowing women to take over the world. ... I don't have a problem with women, Laura. I have a problem with little girls occupying adult female bodies. And any women who feel entitled to wining and dining and jewelry and free vacations are not adults.” [The O'Reilly Factor: 3/26/08]
Kelly Uses Strip Club Footage To Illustrate Store On A Pole-Dancing Fitness Class Accident. On the February 17, 2010, broadcast of Fox News' America Live, host Megyn Kelly aired video of strippers to illustrate a story about a women suing her gym after getting into an accident during a pole-dancing fitness class. [Fox News, America Live, 2/17/10]
Fox News Breaks Out “Pretty Young Thing” Bikini B-Roll To Discuss Mouse “Fountain Of Youth” Study. The October 5, 2009, broadcast of Fox News' America's Newsroom aired a segment on a study which found a genetic mutation in mice that could be manipulated to expand the mice's lifespans. During the segment, Fox aired footage of women in bikinis. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 10/5/09]
America's Newsroom Airs Pictures Of Hookers In Report On Earmark Spending. On the March 2, 2009, broadcast of America's Newsroom, Kelly tied earmarks budgeted for railroads in the 2009 budget to a plan supposedly supported by Sen. Harry Reid to construct a high-speed rail from Orlando to Las Vegas. Despite the fact that Kelly reported that no earmarks existed for such a project, she nonetheless claimed that “one of the earmarks” in the bill was for a “super railroad of sorts. A line that will deliver you straight from Disney, we kid you not, to the doorstep of the Moonlight Bunny Ranch Brothel in Nevada.” Fox aired photographs of prostitutes during the segment. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 3/2/09]
Fox's Parent Company News Corp. Has Been The Target Of Numerous Sexual Harassment And Discrimination Suits
Fox News Sued By EEOC For Retaliation Against Correspondent Who Accused The Network Of Age And Gender Discrimination. On September 30, 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit against Fox News for retaliation against homeland security correspondent Catherine Herridge. The EEOC alleged that Fox News retaliated against Herridge after she complained about discrimination by asking her to sign a contract which included an assurance that she would not allege discrimination in the future. The EEOC's press release noted:
New York-based Fox News Network LLC, which owns and operates the Fox News Channel based in Washington, D.C., retaliated against news reporter Catherine Herridge after she complained to Fox that she was subjected to disparate pay and unequal employment opportunities because of her gender and age, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's complaint, during 2007 Herridge made several complaints to management officials at Fox News about employment practices that she believed were discriminatory. Fox conducted an investigation into Herridge's allegations beginning around December 2007, but notified Herridge that no evidence of age and sex discrimination had been found.
Around the summer or fall of 2008, Fox News included language in Herridge's employment contract, which was set for renewal, that referenced Herridge's discrimination complaints and was intended to stop Herridge from making more of them in the future, the EEOC charged. Herridge refused to sign the employment contract until the language was removed. Thereafter, Fox refused to negotiate further with Herridge, would not respond to counteroffers as to substantive issues in the proposed contract, and ceased speaking to her agent or to her about her contract.
As a result of Fox's refusal to proceed with a new employment contract absent the retaliatory language, Herridge became an “at-will” employee without any job protections, causing her considerable stress, the EEOC alleged. It was only after Herridge filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, and an EEOC investigator conducted an on-site investigation, that Fox agreed to take out the retaliatory language and presented Herridge with a new contract with the retaliatory language removed, in June 2009 which she signed. [EEOC, 9/30/10]
Fox News Settled Sex Discrimination Suit, Which Alleged Fox VP “Used Obscene Terms To Describe Women And Their Body Parts.” According to an August 1, 2006, Bloomberg News article, Fox News Network agreed to pay $225,000 “to settle a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sex discrimination suit.” Bloomberg reported that the EEOC complaint included allegations that Fox News Vice President Joe Chillemi “used obscene terms to describe women and their body parts”; that women were “assigned to freelance positions with fewer benefits, less advancement potential and lower job security than others”; and that “Chillemi, during a department discussion about discrimination in the workplace, said that when choosing between hiring a man or a woman, 'of course I'd pick the man. The woman would most likely get pregnant and leave.'” [The Washington Post, 8/1/06]
In 2004, O'Reilly Settled A Sexual Harassment Lawsuit From Producer. On October 29, 2004, O'Reilly settled a $60 million sexual harassment suit from a former producer who reportedly accused O'Reilly of “repeatedly engaging in offensive sex talk with her, of having unwanted phone sex with her while using a vibrator on himself, and of describing his fantasies about having sex with her in a shower.” O'Reilly also dropped the suit he had filed “against the producer, claiming that she and her lawyer had tried to extort money from him” and told his television audience that there had been “no wrongdoing in this case whatsoever by anyone.” [The New York Times, 10/29/04]
In Suit Against Harper Collins, Judith Regan Alleged “Clear Evidence Of News Corp.'s Double Standard And Discrimination Against Women.” In 2007, Judith Regan filed a wrongful termination suit against News Corp.'s publishing house Harper Collins, which was settled in 2008. In the suit, Regan alleged that her termination is “clear evidence of News Corp.'s double standard and discrimination against women.” As evidence of her claim, Regan stated that she “repeatedly complained” about her “success [being attributed] to nothing more than her 'golden vagina' ” but that “nothing was ever done” about “this sexist and insulting remark.” [MSNBC, 1/25/08; Vanity Fair, 1/1/05]
Fox Sports Host Was Accused Of Sexual Harassment By Former Employee. In 2003, Lisa Brescher, a hairstylist for the show Best Damn Sports Show Period on Fox Sports Net, filed a lawsuit claiming sexual harassment against host and former NBA player John Salley. According to the complaint, Brescher “was subjected to an environment of unrestrained sexual harassment.” Brescher further claimed that host Tom Arnold “didn't care” when she presented her complaints, and retaliated by banning her from the set. Arnold denied the allegations. According to court documents, the case was later settled. [WLKY, 5/2/03, Park City Daily News, 5/2/03, Media Matters, 10/1/10]