Fox News continues to struggle.
The giant network has lost a lot of leadership in the last year like Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly.
And Fox just got some more bad news.
Fox Sports President Jamie Horowitz was just fired amidst a sexual harassment probe.
Ailes and O’Reilly were also let go for the same allegation.
Horowitz transformed Fox Sports into debate shows and talking heads.
COO Eric Shanks informed the staffers of his termination, but the investigation is ongoing and it’s unclear if there is conclusive evidence yet.
The Hollywood Reporter reports:
“The exec has hired litigator Patty Glaser to represent him amid a network investigation of sexual harassment claims.
Jamie Horowitz, who has run programming at Fox Sports since May 2015, has been fired from the network amid an internal investigation of sexual harassment claims.
The executive has hired powerhouse litigator Patty Glaser to represent him, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. On Monday, his executive page had already been made inaccessible on the Fox Sports website.
‘I regret to inform you that Jamie Horowitz, President of National Networks for Fox Sports, will be leaving Fox Sports effective immediately.
We realize this news may come as a surprise for many of you, but we are confident in this decision,’ read a memo from Eric Shanks, president, chief operating officer of Fox Sports.
Shanks also added in the memo:
‘Everyone at Fox Sports, no matter what role we play, or what business, function or show we contribute to — should act with respect and adhere to professional conduct at all times. These values are non-negotiable.’
Horowitz’s attorney Patty Glaser responded in a statement:
‘The way Jamie has been treated by Fox is appalling. At no point in his tenure was there any mention by his superiors or human resources of any misconduct or an inability to adhere to professional conduct.
Jamie was hired by Fox to do a job, a job that until today he has performed in exemplary fashion. Any slanderous accusations to the contrary will be vigorously defended.”
As with many sexual assault/harassment crimes, it’s almost always he-said, she-said.
Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial resulted in a hung jury because they couldn’t quite come to a conclusive decision by every member.
But Fox Sports stands behind their firing and had their legal team address Horowitz’s attorney’s statement.
The Hollywood Reporter concluded:
Daniel Petrocelli, the lawyer representing Fox Sports, replied:
‘Mr. Horowitz’s termination was fully warranted and his lawyer’s accusations are ill-informed and misguided.’
At the network, Horowitz oversaw Fox Sports 1 and 2 and presided over major talent shake-ups and production leads, bringing several people he worked closely with at ESPN.
He hired a slew of talent like Skip Bayless, Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock and execs like Charlie Dixon aimed at shifting programming toward opinionated talk.
Prior to his turn at Fox Sports, Horowitz worked at NBC News, where his tenure as general manager at The Today Show ended in his firing in November 2014 after attempting to engineer a dramatic makeover of the show.
He had previously been a highly regarded exec at ESPN and ABC’s Good Morning America.
Horowitz recently presided over layoffs on the digital side of Fox Sports, with 20 staffers in writing and editing roles let go last month, according to a Bloomberg report, as the web property reorients itself toward creating more original video.
A Fox Sports rep didn’t comment on the number of layoffs reported in the division.”
Fox Sports is still far behind the over-liberally biased worldwide leader in sports, ESPN, but this shakeup and reinvention could mean good news in the competition between these two.