When Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment suit against Fox News two years ago, she painted a picture of a news outlet that was just as sexist behind the scenes as it was on TV. Carlson and the many other Fox News women who told horror stories of being forcibly kissed by chairman Roger Ailes, denied top positions for rejecting their bosses’ advances, and demeaned on camera demonstrated that the company’s ethos demanded female employees check their dignity at the door.
But there are shades of gray to every story, and it would be unfair to caricature Fox News as simply a site of female subjugation. Consider the story of Kimberly Guilfoyle, crusader for gender equality and the true embodiment of girl power.
A former Fox News host and current girlfriend to Donald Trump Jr., Guilfoyle recently left the network to join the staff of a pro-Trump super PAC. According to HuffPost’s Yashar Ali, who spoke with “21 sources inside and outside Fox News and 21st Century Fox,” Guilfoyle’s departure was both involuntary and clouded by accusations of sexual harassment. But this wasn’t the forced exit of, say, a Rudi Bakhtiar, who said her long-term freelancing stint as a Fox correspondent was terminated when she refused to be her superior’s friend with benefits. Oh, no, no, no. In a gender flip reminiscent of Ghostbusters and Ocean’s 8, It was Guilfoyle who was the alleged harasser. Glass ceiling = broken!
That’s right—Guilfoyle leaned in and showed little girls everywhere that they, too, can grow up to allegedly demean their colleagues with sexual comments and photos. Six people told HuffPost that Guilfoyle allegedly shared personal pictures of male genitalia with her colleagues and told them exactly who those penises belonged to—a remarkable leveling of the playing field after fellow Fox News host Eric Bolling was booted from the company following accusations that he, too, had sent unsolicited explicit photos to female colleagues. (In a statement, Guilfoyle’s attorney told Ali, “Any accusations of Kimberly engaging in inappropriate work-place conduct are unequivocally baseless.”) Bolling and Guilfoyle shared an assistant, a young woman who was reportedly “desperate” to escape the “emotionally abusive” conditions of her workplace and Guilfoyle’s frequent debriefs about her sex life. The future of sexual humiliation is female!
Guilfoyle also allegedly told her fellow Fox News employees that Justice with Judge Jeanine host Jeanine Pirro, who is 67, was too old to be on television, proving that women can do anything men can do when it comes to shaming post-menopausal women out of public life. And according to five people, Guilfoyle allegedly called female Fox stars in the midst of the harassment allegations against Ailes to ask them to make on-the-record statements in his defense. Some refused to get on board, and after several more women came forward with tales of Ailes’ misconduct, he resigned from the company. Even so, Guilfoyle has never retracted her support for him. Wow. This patriarchal society tried to hold Guilfoyle back by turning against the sexual abuser at the head of her network, and nevertheless, she persisted.