Sex scandal rocks Fox Sports


News that Fox Sports has ousted President Jamie Horowitz after becoming the subject of sexual harassment allegations is spreading like wildfire through online news outlets and social media on Tuesday.

According to a report in Monday’s Wall Street Journal, Fox Sports President Eric Shanks sent a memo to staff announcing the removal of Mr. Horowitz as president of Fox Sports National Networks.

“Everyone at FOX Sports, no matter what role we play, or what business, function or show we contribute to — should act with respect and adhere to professional conduct at all times. These values are nonnegotiable,” wrote Shanks.

After reporting that fact, the WSJ went on to cite an unnamed “person familiar with the matter” who claimed that “Fox Sports recently retained a law firm in relation to concerns of sexual harassment at the division of 21st Century Fox , FOX 0.93%.”

This “person” then went on to admit that there has not been any claim made against the company, but Horowitz was “removed as a result of the law firm’s probe.”

The memo from Shanks did not detail the reasons for his surprise departure, and representatives for Fox Sports declined to comment.

Hired to represent Horowitz, entertainment industry lawyer Patricia Glaser told reporters that the way Fox Sports has treated him is “appalling.”

In response to the allegations of sexual misconduct, she said the following in a statement:

“At no point in his tenure was there any mention by his superiors or human resources of any misconduct or an inability to adhere to professional conduct. Jamie was hired by Fox to do a job that until today he has performed in an exemplary fashion. Any slanderous accusations to the contrary will be vigorously defended.”

The lawyer representing Fox Sports fired back. According to attorney Daniel Petrocelli, “Mr. Horowitz’s termination was fully warranted, and his lawyer’s accusations are ill-informed and misguided.”

According to the WSJ report:

“The harassment probe at Fox Sports comes in the wake of an effort by parent company 21st Century Fox to crack down on inappropriate office behavior after a year that has seen numerous lawsuits and allegations of sexual harassment and racial discrimination at Fox News. 21st Century Fox and Wall Street Journal-owner News Corp share common ownership.”

Horowitz has been with Fox Sports for a little more than two years and was expected to boost ratings by hiring ESPN talent, including Skip Bayless and Colin Cowherd to “discuss and debate the news of the day rather than just be another place to get highlights,” according to the report.

The WSJ unearthed other unnamed sources who claimed that Horowitz, who was also in charge of digital operations at Fox Sports, had “clashed with longtime staffers there over the future direction of the unit.”

It has been well-documented that Fox Sports ousted members of its writing and editing staff, reportedly in an effort to focus more on video.

At the time, Horowitz wrote in a memo, “our advertising partners want to be presented alongside premium video across all screens, so we will now focus on delivering high quality sports video content to support their efforts.”

According to Shanks’ memo, until Horowitz is replaced, he (Shanks) will handle oversight of programming, marketing and digital operations.

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