Fox News has officially parted ways with anchor Heather Childers, who came to work in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic visibly ill with symptoms associated with the disease, CNN Business reported.
In a brief statement, a network spokesperson confirmed that the anchor, who had been off-the-air since the incident, is no longer with the news outlet.
“Fox News and Heather Childers have parted ways. We wish her all the best,” the spokesperson said.
Back on March 18, as the full gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to become known, Childers, who led the 4 a.m. hour of “Fox & Friends First,” showed up to work visibly ill, both on and off-camera, as staffers became concerned. She came back to work the next day, again visibly sick.
That was the last time she appeared on the air at the network; the following day, according to an anonymous source familiar with the situation, she was sent home from work until further notice. Executives at the network were reportedly angry with her over the situation.
On Twitter, Childers insisted that she was fine.
“Coughed & sneezed last week on air & mentioned during a segment w a doctor the next day I went to see a dr to make sure I didn’t have a temperature or cough of type described as concern. Wanted coworkers safe. Dr said everything was normal. Haven’t been back since Hope to be soon,” she tweeted on March 26 after a viewer asked why she hadn’t been on the air in a while.
Days later, she posted a video of herself supposedly being given her negative COVID-19 results and insisted that she never went to work feeling sick.
As it became more and more apparent that her absence from her show could be indefinite, Childers continued to insist that she never had COVID-19. She even appealed to President Donald Trump.
Starting Week 5 sitting at home & not anchoring @FoxFriendsFirst at 4AM for you. Sorry I won’t be there again after 25+ years as a journalist. @realDonaldTrump please get us all back to work. Negative #Covid19 or any testing is worthless if ignored by employers & municipalities.
— Heather Childers (@HeatherChilders) April 19, 2020
The president does not appear to have responded to the anchor’s pleas for his intervention.
Early on in the pandemic, noted CNN Business writer Brian Stelter, Fox News anchors downplayed the severity of the pandemic, and in some cases echoed President Trump’s beliefs that the pandemic was under control and that the virus would disappear.
However, in March, the disease hit New York City, where the network’s programs are filmed, with a vengeance. The news outlet’s coverage turned more serious, and workers who were able to do so began working from home, while the number of people allowed in the company’s buildings was limited.