Fox News’s Bolling ac­cused of lewd texts

The Washington Post Sunday - - POLITICS & THE NATION - BY PAUL FARHI paul.farhi@wash­post.com

Fox News Chan­nel sus­pended long­time host Eric Bolling on Satur­day, amid a re­port that he al­legedly sent lewd texts to fe­male co-work­ers at the net­work.

Bolling, co-host of the week­day Fox pro­gram “The Spe­cial­ists” and for­mer co-host of “The Five,” is the lat­est Fox em­ployee to be ac­cused of in­ap­pro­pri­ate sex­ual be­hav­ior in the 13 months since the net­work was con­sumed by al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual ha­rass­ment against its co-founder and then­chair­man, the late Roger Ailes.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port in Huf­fPost, Bolling, 54, texted a photo of male gen­i­talia to two col­leagues at Fox Busi­ness Net­work, and one to a co-worker at Fox News. The web­site didn’t re­veal the names of the al­leged re­cip­i­ents, but said they are Bolling’s cur­rent and for­mer col­leagues. The mes­sages were sent sev­eral years ago and were un­so­licited, it said.

In a state­ment is­sued Satur­day af­ter­noon, Fox said it had sus­pended Bolling “pend­ing the re­sults of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which is cur­rently un­der­way.” The law firm Paul Weiss, which has con­ducted a se­ries of in­ves­ti­ga­tions into ha­rass­ment at the net­work, is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the al­le­ga­tions against Bolling.

Last sum­mer, Ailes was forced out of his job af­ter for­mer “Fox & Friends” host Gretchen Carl­son filed suit against him. Her suit — quickly set­tled for $20 mil­lion — un­leashed a se­ries of ac­cu­sa­tions against Fox ex­ec­u­tives and on-air per­son­al­i­ties by women who work at the com­pany.

In April, the net­work forced out its big­gest star, Bill O’Reilly, af­ter the New York Times re­ported that he and Fox had set­tled five ha­rass­ment suits or com­plaints dat­ing back more than a decade. Net­work pres­i­dent Bill Shine re­signed soon af­ter.

Bolling’s at­tor­ney Michael J. Bowe told Huf­fPost that Bolling “re­calls no such in­ap­pro­pri­ate com­mu­ni­ca­tions, does not be­lieve he sent any such com­mu­ni­ca­tions, and will vig­or­ously pur­sue his le­gal reme­dies for any false and defam­a­tory ac­cu­sa­tions that are made.”

In ad­di­tion to “The Spe­cial­ists,” Bolling co-hosts a week­end busi­ness-dis­cus­sion pro­gram on Fox called “Cashin’ In.”

On Fri­day, Bolling taped an episode of that pro­gram, but Fox pulled it af­ter Huf­fPost pub­lished its story.

Ac­cord­ing to Huf­fPost, four peo­ple, in ad­di­tion to the re­cip­i­ents, said they had seen the photo that Bolling al­legedly sent. Eight oth­ers said the re­cip­i­ents had spo­ken to them about it.

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