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The past few days have been quite eventful for the Fox News brand, which sits at the center of yet another controversial incident involving an on-air personality. A face and name familiar to viewers of both Fox News and Fox Business, Eric Bolling was suspended by his employers after allegations went public saying the host had sent unsolicited photography of male genitalia to several different female colleagues. And to be expected, Bolling's camp came out denying the accusations, with the host himself returning to Twitter after a brief absence to comment on the situation.
This ordeal broke open last Thursday, when reports initially surfaced that a handful of women (whose identities were kept anonymous) claimed that Eric Bolling sent them the phallic photo in question, and reports say that the respective text messages were sent to the women on different occasions some years ago. Not all involved were actually sent the photo, per their statements, but the recipients apparently showed other colleagues after getting them, saying how disturbed and offended they were.
Fox News opened an investigation on Friday, a day after the claims went public, though Eric Bolling's attorney Michael Bowe claimed that the Specialists' host "recalls no such inappropriate communications," and "does not believe he sent any such communications." Not the most structured denials to be made, but it still puts the burden of proof on others, although given the way that Fox News handled its high-profile firing of Bill O'Reilly, to name one, concrete proof doesn't necessarily need to surface in order for the company to settle things financially.
Since thisisn't the first time that a Fox network host has faced these kinds of claims, reactions to the circumstances have been quite mixed. Some are obviously pointing the fingers of blame as firmly as possibly, such as former Fox News contributor Caroline Heldman, who took to Facebook with some of her own harassment claims against Eric Bolling and others. On the flip side, some dedicated viewers don't believe the company and its lawyers are doing enough to verify these kinds of allegations before squashing things outside of court, and that people are taking advantage of that. I think we know which side Bolling is thanking in the tweet above.
The suspension happened on Friday, when Eric Bolling tapes his Saturday program Cashin' In. The network chose not to air that episode, despite it being finished, and it will replace Bolling on Specialists with guest hosts. It's obviously unclear at this point what Fox News' investigation will consist of, or where it will lead. But stay tuned, since this clearly won't be the last of it.