All eyes on Sean Hannity after departure of Fox News co-president

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The scandal over alleged harassment and discrimination at Fox News has led to another high-profile departure from the channel. Bill Shine, who became co-president less than a year ago, resigned on Monday.

In a memo to employees, the head of the channel’s parent company, Rupert Murdoch, said: “I know Bill was respected and liked by everybody at Fox News. We will all miss him.”

For years, Shine was the right-hand man to Roger Ailes, the Fox chairman forced out in July amid sexual harassment allegations. Some have asked if he enabled misconduct at the upper echelons of the network — accusations Shine has denied.

Shine began at Fox News as Sean Hannity‘s producer and now that he is gone, all eyes turned to Hannity. Last week, in response to reports Shine was being pushed out, Hannity tweeted: “…that’s the total end of the FNC as we know it.”

On Monday, the network denied reports its biggest remaining star was following Shine out the door, CBS News’ Jericka Duncan reports.  “All the lies you heard about me are not true,” Hannity said on his program.

“It’s a very demoralized newsroom right now,” Variety managing editor Joe Bel Bruno told CBS News. He said Shine’s proximity to Fox’s sexual harassment scandal caused his downfall.

“What the allegations are in this case is that he helped Roger Ailes cover it up. He helped protect some of their top folks like Bill O’Reilly,” Bel Bruno said.

Douglas Wigdor, an attorney who filed a race discrimination suit against Shine and other executives, said in a statement: “While long overdue, we are pleased that 21st Century Fox has taken a step in the right direction.” 

Also on Monday, reporter Diana Falzone hit Fox with another lawsuit, alleging discrimination based on gender and disability.

In January, she wrote about her infertility due to endometriosis. Falzone’s suit claims that revelation “detracted from her sex appeal and made her less desirable” in the eyes of Fox executives, who ordered her off the air. 

Jay Wallace and Suzanne Scott, two Fox News veterans, have been tapped to replace Shine. But Scott, like Shine, has also been implicated in some of the lawsuits against the network.

“The talk now is will there be more change? Will she be there for the long haul?  And can she really turn around the culture?” Bel Bruno said. 

“CBS This Morning” asked Fox News to comment on Diana Falzone’s lawsuit, but did not get a response. Last week, the network vehemently denied the racial discrimination claims in anchor Kelly Wright’s class action lawsuit.

As for Bill Shine, Fox says he will remain for a few more weeks to help with the transition.

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Source: CBS News – Moneywatch

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