After gay CNN anchor Anderson Cooper revealed his sexual preference in a letter to a friend, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, right, began preparations in earnest for his big “coming out” celebration.
That is, until Fox News honchos learned of Smith’s plans and demoted him to the mail room.
Last week, Gawker.com, quoting multiple sources, reported that Fox News executives had retaliated against star anchor Shepard Smith because he had voiced his desire to come out as gay.
Fox News slammed the report as “100% false and a complete fabrication,” and pointed out that there was a discrepancy in Gawker’s account of an incident that occurred at a company picnic when Smith brought his new boyfriend.
Gawker admitted that it erred in reporting that Fox executive Bill Shine “flipped out” when Smith showed up at Roger Ailes‘s picnic with his new boy toy.
It turns out that Shine was not at the picnic, and that he in fact flipped out after the picnic when his subordinates told him that Smith showed up with a male Fox News staffer.
Gawker notes that — at a meeting to discuss which anchor Megyn Kelly‘s new show would replace — Shine brought up Smith’s name and wondered aloud “what to do about Shep.” Shine believed Smith’s coming out plans would have a serious effect on Fox’s ratings.
It was then decided that Megyn’s show would permanently preempt Shep’s time slot — effectively demoting Smith and reducing his visibility on the air.
All of this took place before Smith showed up in public with his new boy toy, a 26-year-old Fox producer named Gio Graziano.
In a Wednesday memo to his staff, Smith called Gawker’s report “horseshit” and compared it to CNN’s coverage of the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet.
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