Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson greeted the news that her one-time boss Bill Shine has officially joined President Donald Trump’s White House as deputy chief of staff for communications on Thursday with an air of disbelief and disgust.
Responding to the news on Twitter, Carlson wrote, “This .... on the 2 year anniversary eve of filing my harassment lawsuit; giving women a voice, letting them know you can be believed, launching a national movement to stand up and speak up and say enough is enough. Life ... works in mysterious ways.” She added the hashtag #BeFierce, which is also the title of her 2017 book about sexual harassment in the workplace.
Carlson is deeply familiar with Shine, who was named in at least three separate lawsuits against Fox News for allegedly covering up sexual harassment by the network’s late CEO Roger Ailes. Shine resigned in disgrace from Fox last spring just a few months after Ailes was ousted.
It was Carlson’s lawsuit against Ailes, filed on July 6th, 2016, that led directly to his demise. In that suit, Carlson claimed that Ailes fired her because she refused his sexual propositions. “Notwithstanding her strong performance and tireless work ethic,” the complaint read, “Ailes denied Carlson fair compensation, desirable assignments and other career-enhancing opportunities in retaliation for her complaints of harassment and discrimination because she rejected his sexual advances.”
According to a separate lawsuit filed by Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky, women at the network were pressured to join “Team Roger” and publicly disparage Carlson’s character. When they didn’t, they were subject to professional retaliation.
In the two years since, Carlson has dedicated herself to speaking out on behalf of women who have suffered similar treatment. “It’s an excruciating choice for any woman to make this kind of decision, because before the environment of what you’re in right now you’re automatically called a liar, not to be believed, worse,” Carlson told Stephen Colbert last fall as the #MeToo movement was just beginning to pick up steam. “Thank god more women are being fierce and they have found the courage from within and the bravery to come forward and say, ‘Me too.’ And they’re saying they’re not going to put up with this crap anymore.”
And yet, whereas Carlson has now expressed dismay at the hiring of Shine at the White House, two of her former Fox News colleagues have already come out to support his powerful appointment.
Sean Hannity recently called Shine “one of the smartest people I've ever known and one of the nicest people I've ever known.” And Bill O’Reilly, who was also fired by Fox News for alleged sexual harassment, tweeted that having Shine in the White House “will be good for the country.”