Frequent Fox News guests Matt Schlapp and his wife Mercedes have disappeared from Fox’s airwaves in the two weeks since The Daily Beast published a January 5 story about a GOP staffer who said that Matt, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, “fondled” his crotch. Although FoxNews.com has published one article about the accusation, the Schlapps have not been mentioned on Fox News or Fox Business since January 5.
The staffer, who was working for the Herschel Walker campaign for U.S. Senate at the time and was assigned as Schlapp’s driver, told The Daily Beast that the incident occurred on October 19. He provided the media outlet with contemporaneous call records, text messages, and videos he recorded following the incident to corroborate his story. From the article:
A staffer for Herschel Walker’s Senate campaign has alleged to The Daily Beast that longtime Republican activist Matt Schlapp made “sustained and unwanted and unsolicited” sexual contact with him while the staffer was driving Schlapp back from an Atlanta bar this October.
The staffer said the incident occurred the night of Oct. 19, when Schlapp, chair of the American Conservative Union and lead organizer for the influential Conservative Political Action Conference, “groped” and “fondled” his crotch in his car against his will after buying him drinks at two different bars.
The staffer described Schlapp, who had traveled to Georgia for a Walker campaign event, as inappropriately and repeatedly intruding into his personal space at the bars. He said he was also keenly aware of his “power dynamic” with Schlapp, widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in national conservative politics.
The staffer also said he told the campaign about the incident the following day and that the campaign was supportive of him, and The Daily Beast confirmed details of the campaign’s involvement with the staffer’s complaint.
The Schlapps are frequent guests on Fox, where Mercedes had previously been a paid contributor. According to Media Matters’ internal database of cable news guest appearances, Matt appeared on Fox News’ weekday programs at least 29 times in 2022, and Mercedes appeared at least 56 times. They also appeared multiple times this month alone before the allegations against Matt Schlapp became public. According to SnapStream transcripts, Mercedes appeared on Fox News once and Fox Business three times during the first week of January, and Matt had one appearance on Fox Business during this time. But there have been no appearances for either of them since the story first broke on January 5 through 11 am Eastern on January 19.
In fact, the Schlapps haven’t even been mentioned once on Fox or Fox Business since then. Many other major news outlets began covering the story January 17 after the staffer filed a lawsuit against Matt Schlapp, which accused Schlapp of “aggressively fondling” the staffer's “genital area in a sustained fashion,” as well as accusing both of the Schlapps of defamation and conspiracy to discredit the staffer.
And while FoxNews.com did report on the lawsuit, both Fox News and Fox Business have failed to cover it on air, while one of the network’s rivals, CNN, has covered the staffer’s story about Matt’s actions multiple times since January 11.
Media Matters searched transcripts in the SnapStream video database for all original programming on Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network for the term “Schlapp” from January 5, 2023, when a Herschel Walker staffer first reported that Matt Schlapp had groped him, through January 19, 2023.
We included segments, which we defined as instances when the report of groping was the stated topic of discussion or when we found significant discussion of the allegations. We defined significant discussion as instances when two or more speakers in a multitopic segment discussed the groping allegation with one another.
We also reviewed guest appearances by Matt or Mercedes Schlapp for whether Fox News or Fox Business personalities asked about the allegations or the lawsuit.