The Fox News host suspended over the weekend for alleged sexual harassment has a long, documented history of piggish on-air behavior.
On Saturday, Fox News announced that it had benched Eric Bolling while it investigates the claims, first reported by HuffPost, that he sent colleagues lewd text messages, including photographs of male genitalia. Bolling, through a lawyer, denied the “uncorroborated claims,” calling them “untrue and terribly unfair.”
The next day, a frequent former Bolling guest on his shows, Caroline Heldman, came forward to recount how the Fox star had repeatedly made inappropriate, sexist comments towards her while on TV.
“Bolling referred to me as ‘Dr. McHottie’ on air on four different occasions, and called me ‘smart, beautiful, and wrong’ on air twice,” the college professor recounted in a Facebook post. “This on-air behavior was perfectly acceptable to Fox executives at the time.” (In a statement Monday, Fox News said, “We are investigating this matter and all claims will be taken into account.”)
Indeed, on January 8, 2011, Bolling remarked that he couldn’t tell between two liberal guests who was further to the political left, “Jonas [Ferris] or Dr. McHottie over there.” On another show, several days later, he referred to the sexist nickname, saying, “I won‘t call you that.”
And yet on April 2, 2011, during a Bulls & Bears segment about Wisconsin unions boycotting certain businesses, Bolling dismissed Heldman’s liberal opinion that “boycotts are the most American thing you can do,” by snarking: “I’m shocked that the great Dr. McHottie said that ‘It’s the most American thing you can do.’ It’s the least American thing you can do.”
Bolling again referred to Heldman as “Dr. McHottie” on May 13, 2011—except, this time, the professor hit back by calling the host “Mr. McSexist” later in the program. Perhaps embarrassed by the call-out, Bolling replied, “I say that in all good humor. If I offend you I won’t say it anymore.”
Heldman also recounted several occasions in which Bolling shrugged off her on-air disagreements by casually remarking about her physical appearance.
During a January, 12, 2011 episode of Follow the Money, for example, after Heldman asserted that America’s wealthiest individuals are not “paying their fair share” of taxes, Bolling replied: “Professor, you're smart, you're beautiful, but you're wrong.”
Two weeks later, on the same Fox Business Network show, Bolling dismissed Heldman’s liberal opinions with a dose of casual sexism: “Doc, I've said it before, I'll say it again: smart, beautiful, and wrong.”
Heldman claimed in her Facebook post this weekend that Bolling would often contact her after the show “sometimes to apologize for his behavior (and then do it again)” and sometimes to invite her out to New York to have “fun.” Additionally, she alleged, “Once, he took me up to his office in New York, showed me his baseball jerseys, and in the brief time I was there, let me know that his office was his favorite place to have sex.”
Bolling’s history of inappropriate on-air comments extends well beyond Heldman, liberal watchdog group Media Matters noted on Monday.
In November 2011, Bill Maher made a sexist joke that Egyptian then-President Hosni Mubarak should send CBS reporter Lara Logan’s “intrepid hotness” back to the United States, following her sexual assault there, in exchange for conservative The View host Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
Bolling’s response: “Bill Maher is so wrong. You want to talk about ‘intrepid hotness’? That’s Elisabeth Hasselbeck, not Lara Logan.” Several of his co-hosts were audibly stunned.
Bolling said in June 2013, in reaction to a story about a middle-school girl being cut from a football team for fears of “impure” thoughts among her male teammates: “This is more of the wussification of American men. The girls want to be tougher, the boys want to be sweeter,” he said.
Bolling then bizarrely pivoted to waxing nostalgic: “I just long for the days where it’s okay to tell a woman she looks beautiful in that dress. I’m not sure if I could do that anymore because I might be harassing her.”
Similarly, the year prior, he lamented a 9-year-old girl’s desire to play football by demanding: “Let the boys be boys, let the girls be girls.”
In December 2014, he declared that “there should be no question” that men are “more successful, we’re better traders, we’re better leaders, and we’re better athletes.”
But perhaps most infamous was the time Bolling asked, in reference to the first female pilot for the United Arab Emirates, who participated in bombing raids against ISIS militants: “Would that be considered boobs on the ground?” He was forced to apologize the following day.
In addition his casual sexism, The Daily Beast has previously reported on Bolling’s extensive history of racist on-air commentary.
Throughout the 2012 election season, Bolling repeatedly promoted the conspiracy theory that President Obama’s birth certificate was a fraud and that Obama was actually born in Kenya. When Obama met with the president of Gambia in 2011, Bolling declared, “It’s not the first time he’s had a hoodlum in the hizzouse,” adding, “So what’s with all the hoods in the hizzie?”
Earlier that same year, the Fox host said Obama was too busy “chugging forties” to visit tornado-ravaged Joplin, Missouri. And on another evening, he addressed the president: “How does increasing taxes count as spending cuts in your world, Mr. Obama? Maybe in Kenya, but certainly not here.”
Additionally, in 2012, after Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, who is black, used fiery rhetoric to bash Republican leaders, Bolling responded, “Congresswoman, you saw what happened to Whitney Houston. Step away from the crack pipe.”