Gawker: Fox News demoted Shep Smith because he’s gay

Gawker is reporting that Fox News discriminated against longtime anchor Shepard Smith because Smith is gay and decided last year to finally, officially, come out.

If true, Fox News’ actions could constitute a violation of both New York city and state (2002) employment law, which bans job discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Fox News is denying the story, and claims Gawker got some details wrong.

It has long been rumored that Smith is gay – a gay Fox News employee told me that he knew for a fact that Smith was gay over ten years ago. But what Gawker is alleging is entirely new.

Gawker is claiming that Smith had intended to come out last year, was told “no” by Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, and that because of internal fears that Smith might come out anyway, and Fox News’ conservative audience would not approve of a gay host, Fox essentially demoted Smith, removing him from the network’s prime-time line-up.

Smith, in fact, has not come out publicly. Though he as been seen in NYC with his reported boyfriend.

Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith, via his official bio on

Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith, via his official bio on

Fox News’ actions, if true, could be a violation of the New York State and New York City human rights laws, which prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Smith is not, however, protected by federal law, which permits job discrimination against people who are gay.

Such discrimination would be outlawed under the proposed ENDA legislation (Employment Non-Discrimination Act), which has been languishing before Congress for decades.

While I wouldn’t expect Smith, a longtime and loyal Fox News employee, to sue the network for discrimination, all bets are off if the network pushes him too far, and/or lets him go.

Smith is also now in an odd position. If the allegations are true, Fox News may want him to publicly deny them. Of course, such pressure from Fox News could only add to Smith’s ultimate damages in any future court case.

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46 Responses to “Gawker: Fox News demoted Shep Smith because he’s gay”

  1. Jade says:

    I have. And everything sane37 says is true.

  2. DevilsAdvocateAC says:

    have you ever even seen it? other than clips on msnbc, the daily show and colbert? you ever try to watch the source material with an open mind?

  3. Karma_HitMan says:

    After reading his comments, I can tell it is very mad at himself, I am sure it is a self loathing thing. Now I will admit I have gotten mad and at times I have said some very mean things, I have my faults, but this Sam guy is very upset and should seek medical help

  4. TwiWizardChamp says:

    I don’t care about his sexual preference or if he is vegan or if he sleeps hanging upside down from a tree branch! I also don’t care if Rachel Madcow is gay, I just don’t like her! I don’t care that Bill O’Reilly is a liberal (yes, he is), I just like his “In your face” methods! I don’t care if CNN is really dnCNN because I don’t go there anyway! I don’t care if anyone is gay! I do care when they try to intrude their gayness by force into American life. And lastly, I don’t care if He Who Must Not Be Named is black, half black or green or pink! I despise everything about Lord Barack and Lady Moochie! But I felt the same disdain for Bill Clinton and his husband, Hillary (PIAPS)! I also didn’t care for Carter, Nixon or LBJ.

    Yes, I am that old!

  5. farmon says:

    oh, he is gay alright, came into my restaurant on a date… with a man. Funny thing is, I had no idea it was him until later. All I thought was that they were a couple on a first date.

  6. arcadesproject says:

    I think Fox may be underestimating its viewers. No. I mean seriously. Practically the whole world has been converted to sanity regarding gay sexuality and gay people. Even Fox-niks. Excepting only the hard core nuts.

  7. dcinsider says:

    Respect. Puhleeez.

  8. atalex says:

    I will always love Shep Smith for one transcendent moment. In 2012, he dutifully read the news report off the prompter that Newt Gingrich had ended his presidential campaign and endorsed Romney and the Romney camp thanked him graciously and praised Gingrich’s service to the nation. (Background: the two men openly DESPISED each other during the campaign.) Shep read the report, paused for about three seconds, and then said the following:

    “Politics is weird. And creepy. And as I have just learned, totally divorced from reality.”

    And then he went on with his news report as if nothing had happened.

  9. atalex says:

    I actually met Shep Smith not three weeks ago. He came down for an Ole Miss baseball game and I bumped into him at a local bar. I introduced myself, shook his hand, and told him he was the only person at Fox I had any respect for. I hope he moves to MSNBC and writes a tell-all book about his experiences at Fox.

  10. sane37 says:

    Fox /= News, hard or otherwise.
    Fox does not do news. They do infotainment.

    If Fox does hard hitting news, so does the Onion.

  11. sane37 says:

    He works for Fox, he has no credibility as a newscaster.
    But in his defense, he is good looking and can read the teleprompter.

  12. icantbeliveyou says:

    and reading though the list I don’t see any cogent discussion, just person attracts with the devotion only the right can attain.

  13. icantbeliveyou says:

    I don’t see MSNBC having any problems with gay employees. Fox caters to the crazy christian crowd and if shep was fired after his coming out he would also have a stronger case in NY, I personally think it would be awesome for all those Midwest mouth breathers to visit NY and see fox with the cameras off, I am pretty sure the honeymoon would be over. (disclaimer I live in the rustbelt)

  14. Moderator3 says:

    You have had an account for 11 days and made 638 comments. Those comments received almost 1200 flags. How have you had time to read anything?

  15. Sam137 says:

    File under “rumor”, sourced by “no one”. Typical for this website.

  16. BeccaM says:

    That was my feeling, too. But I was wondering if someone else had seen it first.

  17. The_Fixer says:

    Umm, this sounds like you have a bit of a crush on him or something. Not trying to be gratuitously insulting here, it just sounds that way.

  18. The_Fixer says:

    It’s one thing to allege, quite another to prove.

    This is, if Gawker has the story right (!), just a he-said/they-said situation. I think that any discrimination that may have been done would have been done in such a manner that it couldn’t be proven very easily, if at all. If it was true, and Smith decided to pursue it, he’d be up against a well-funded Fox legal staff. It would take going to the Supreme Court in order for him to prevail (and we all know how that would probably go with the way the court sits right now).

    Smith hasn’t come out officially, though enough people have seen him in gay contexts that it is not hard to believe he is. Question is, will he leave Fox to come out? That might give him a little bit more credibility as a newscaster if it came to pass. One reason is that he would be leaving Fox, obviously; the other is that he’d be living a more authentic life for himself.

    I really don’t know if anyone should be holding their breath waiting for this to be resolved. Unless Smith has changed. We shall see.

  19. TheBigPickle says:

    Gawker, now there’s a reliable source. Ha!

  20. Illogikus says:

    The first thing I did when I found out Shep was gay was to get all the lint from the dryer door. Clothes just won’t dry well with so much lint in it Once that was cleared I could spend a proper amount of time flossing my teeth. I do care about clean lint dryer doors and good flossed teeth. Shep’s gayness……………..notsomuch

  21. Indigo says:

    He’s literate eye candy. That’s enough in some demographics.

  22. Indigo says:

    Shepard Smith? The I’m-gay-and-I-make-lots-of-money-and-you-don’t Shepard Smith? Patooey!

  23. cole3244 says:

    i guess you could tell shep that what goes around comes around or something to that effect.


    What an idiot

  25. Thom Allen says:

    I’m assuming that you didn’t accidentally have your snark button set to “off” when you wrote your comment.

    Smith is just another of Fox’s talking (empty) heads who is still working on getting the rest of his Kabuki makeup correctly applied.

  26. Ninja0980 says:

    No sympathy at all for him.
    Unlike so many others, Shepard Smith has the option of leaving a homophobic environment and chooses not to.
    I have no sympathy for him.

  27. bkmn says:

    I figured all the makeup was an attempt to cover up that bad eye lift.

  28. Doc2222 says:

    Well, good grief! Wasn’t it obvious to Faux News that he is gay? He wears so much make-up, mascara, eyeliner, etc, that he practically looks like a drag queen, not that there’s anything wrong with that. They ought to leave him alone. He’s the only anchor they’ve got who doesn’t come across as a paranoid right wing idiot.

  29. BeccaM says:


    He’s Fox News’s ‘objectivity beard.’ He’s a news ANCHOR. He reads the words other people write for him.

    He’s not a journalist. Not an investigative reporter. Not a news producer. Not the senior manager. And he sure as hell doesn’t own the network he broadcasts on. That would be the guy who regularly writes memos to his entire news division, not only telling them what they will be reporting on, but also how they will spin it and what political position they are to take on it. (Invariably pro-GOP, by the by.)

    Shep Smith might be less obviously partisan and compromised — and seem far more professional — than, say, Megyn Kelly or that crew of couch-slugs in the morning. But that’s all. His job is to seem less partisan than the others.

  30. Sleepy Sleepyo says:

    why does anyone expect FOX noise to behave any differently. They hate everyone except rich white tea bagger republicans.

  31. BeccaM says:

    Slight correction: “Angry white guys who believe they’re 100% macho-hetero, but many of whom have unresolved same-sex attraction issues dating back to adolescence…”

    Let’s face it: Shep Smith is a handsome fellow by many folks’ standards. Finding out he’s gay will make quite a few of those angry white guys go all squoodgy down below.

  32. Jade says:

    Nobody is “pressuring” him to say what we all already know. This article isn’t about that. Not even close.

  33. Jade says:

    Oh, I remember when he was the only news anchor on Fox who was against torture of Iraqi prisoners. That only further highlights that he knew the kind of people he was dealing with. And he stayed there.

  34. PolishBear says:

    Fox News exists for one reason: To make their core audience of angry white guys even ANGRIER. And for that audience, an openly Gay news anchor would be nothing short of betrayal.

  35. beergoggles says:

    Hard to give a shit for a millionaire stuck in a poisoned environment he helped create.

  36. Sam says:

    Shepard, I don’t care what or who you screw just as long as it’s not me or my wife. Just keep upyour pulitzer quality reporting and follow your heart. You won’t go wrong. 30

  37. jomicur says:

    The story says pretty clearly that Smith decided to come out, then was pressured not to do it by by Ailes. Here it is again, since you obviously couldn’t understand it the first time: “Gawker is claiming that Smith had intended to come out last year, was told “no” by Fox News CEO Roger Ailes.” Get it?

  38. ericxdc says:

    “the best of the worst” on fox…how very inspiring.

  39. DevilsAdvocateAC says:

    also, gawker has no idea what it’s talking about. shepard never said he’s gay. and why are they so fascinated? i thought it was inappropriate to pressure someone to come-out even if they are gay… so why are you trying to do that gawker?

  40. DevilsAdvocateAC says:

    Shepard Smith is THE MOST reputable, respectable, most full of integrity news anchor in ALL of cable (and in my opinion) network news…. with charm and humor to boot. Scoff all you want but i doubt you’ve ever watched Fox or much less a full hour of his show. He is 98% nonpartisan (more than can be said for any other anchor on TV) and always out for the facts (unlike everyone else on his channel).

    THAT’S why they cancelled his 7pm show. They didn’t want him in primetime when most of the viewers were looking for RedState-Meat. So they let him stick to his 3pm show and his unblemished record for hard-news.

  41. Jade says:

    “Loyal Fox News employee.” My mind is pretty closed when it comes things like this. I can only assume he agrees with Fox’s mission. He knew what he was getting into.

  42. judybrowni says:

    So…he chose power and glory for lying.

    He’s not some poor schlub stuck for cash, but an extremely well-paid liar.

    If he would no longer be welcome in any legitimate news organization, that’s the bed he chose.

    But if you don’t want to be outed as gay, Shepherd, you might want to cut down on the eyeliner.

  43. clarknt67 says:

    I am guessing NY city and state discrimination laws require the victim to file a complaint for a legal investigation to commence. So, unless Smith himself takes up the cause, we’ll see this allegation go nowhere.

  44. lynchie says:

    there are thousands who are in jobs across the country and have no choice but to remain with bosses who are racists, bigots, sexual harrassers and have little choice about their options. Shepherd because of his high profile is in a better off situation but there are tons of working class people who go to work everyday and put up with tons of garbage.

  45. ericxdc says:

    I have trouble working up sympathy for anyone who’s basically a sock puppet for fox news.

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