Fox News promotes an alleged sexual harasser again
George Murdoch a.k.a. Tyrus will appear regularly on late-night cringefest Gutfeld!
Fox’s newest disaster is Gutfeld!, an 11 p.m. program that purportedly serves as the network’s version of a late-night talk-show. Bloomberg reports that “Fox executives” hope Greg Gutfeld, also a co-host of The Five, can “create a conservative alternative to the other middle-of-the-road or liberal-leaning networks” that competes with the likes of Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, and Jimmy Kimmel, whose shows also air in the 11 o’clock hour.
Along with its namesake host, Gutfeld! features George Murdoch (aka Tyrus) despite ongoing litigation regarding sexual harassment allegations brought against him by his co-host on the defunct Fox Nation show UN-PC, Britt McHenry.
USA Today reported on the launch of Gutfeld’s new show and noted it “features familiar faces” from his Saturday show, including “Katherine ‘Kat’ Timpf, Tyrus and Tom Shillue.” In an appearance on Fox News Primetime the day of the Gutfeld! premiere, Timpf stated she’ll be on the show five nights a week. These days Timpf and Tyrus come as a pair across Fox News platforms -- they also host a show together on Fox News Radio.
There’s not much notable about Tyrus’ comments on Gutfeld!. He's painfully unfunny and his crude jokes don’t land.
What matters is that Fox News has once again turned a blind eye to its systemic sexual harassment problem. And this isn’t the first time that approach has benefited Tyrus.
Before Timpf, Tyrus regularly appeared with McHenry, an ESPN reporter-turned-Fox News personality. As the Daily Beast reports, their Fox Nation show, UN-PC, was meant to be the platform’s “flagship” program when Fox Nation launched in 2018. In fact, McHenry and Tyrus appeared together during a “Fox Nation Launch Special” that aired on Fox News to promote the new service.
McHenry and Tyrus’ on-air schtick fell apart after she reported sexual harassment. But instead of offering anything even resembling an appropriate response to such a dispute, Fox stuck to its tried and true strategy of rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship. Less than two months before the reports came out, Tyrus quietly made his final appearance on UN-PC. Journalist Yashar Ali reported that he was not suspended from the network pending investigation. Instead, Tyrus got promoted to a solo hosting gig on Fox Nation for the now-defunct show Nuff Said.
The most recent episode of UN-PC was posted to the Fox Nation website in March 2020. According to Media Matters' internal database, which includes weekday programming from 6 a.m. to midnight, McHenry did not appear on Fox News at all during 2020, and she has appeared only once in 2021. (In February 2020, McHenry tweeted that she was undergoing brain surgery.). Her Twitter bio still lists her as a Fox News contributor, but tweets suggest that she appears regularly on local D.C. affiliate Fox 5. (The station is owned and operated by Fox Corp.)
McHenry’s current gig is much lower profile than that which has been afforded to Tyrus. On January 28, McHenry noted Tyrus’ continued presence on the network despite “lawsuit claims against him for sexual harassment and retaliation,” a case that was recently allowed to proceed in a federal court ruling.
Though Fox attempted to convince the public that it’s taking a new approach to handling sexual harassment claims during the fallout from the Roger Ailes scandals, the network has left in place Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott, a move that, according to The Washington Post, was criticized due to her involvement “in Fox’s efforts to thwart employees’ claims of harassment” made against the former Fox boss.” As Tyrus’ second promotion post-sexual harassment allegations demonstrates, little to nothing has changed since those days. Instead, Fox is yet again backing itself into a corner as the 2021 upfronts approach. Blue chip advertisers will again be forced to reckon with whether exposing themselves to the risks of Fox News’ mismanagement is worth access to the Fox audience.