Fox News fired Ed Henry, co-anchor of America's Newsroom, Wednesday morning, following an investigation into sexual misconduct claims levied by a former employee. Initial reports cited an internal memo from Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace. Not long after, Fox News confirmed the story in its own report, citing the aforementioned memo.
According to the memo, the complaint was received on June 25, at which point Henry was suspended and removed from on-air responsibilities. In a segment, co-anchor Sandra Smith said his spot would be filled with rotating anchors until a permanent replacement is named.
"We encourage any employee who has a sexual harassment, discrimination or misconduct complaint of any form to report it immediately, as we have said repeatedly over the last four years," the memo read in part.
Project WHEN Founder Diane Stegmeier said that's simply "not enough."
Stegmeier founded the non-profit — short for Workplace Harassment Ends Now — with the goal of "creating respectful, harassment-free workplaces for future generations." She contended that Fox's latest public actions didn't go far enough.
"In the case of Ed Henry's termination from Fox News due to allegations of sexual misconduct, the fact that the organization responded quickly to both internal and external audiences will help somewhat in thwarting the further negative publicity, which indeed will come. That in itself is not enough," Stegmeier told The Inquisitr.
She pointed out that Henry's dismissal is simply the latest issue Fox has had when it comes to workplace culture and that the organization's reputation is already "tarnished by Roger Ailes, Eric Bolling, James Rosen, and others." She recognized the steps Fox has taken, citing its 2017 human resources overhaul — a fact name-checked in the aforementioned Fox report — but maintained there is "much more that needs to be done."
"Organizations such as Fox need to commit to a strategy for systemic change to identify the root causes of a culture that allows sexual misconduct, as well [as] holistically addresses all areas of workplace harassment, to include sexual and physical harassment, quid pro quo harassment, microaggression, bullying, ageism, job shaming, verbal threats, derogatory comments, and discriminating or exclusionary behavior," Stegmeier added.
Such a commitment, she said, must be made "loudly and clearly" to both internal and external audiences and the strategy should be further reinforced with results measured over time. Stegmeier advised that Fox News and other organizations serious about eliminating workplace harassment should enroll in a certification program to receive step-by-step guidance through the process.
Stegmeier concluded that announcing its enrollment in such a program could give Fox News its "most powerful message of their commitment to change."
"Ed Henry denies the allegations referenced in the Fox announcement and is confident that he will be vindicated after a full hearing in an appropriate forum."