Caroline Heldman, the former Fox guest who accused Eric Bolling of sexually harassing her, said that sexual harassment at Fox was so pervasive that she and other women “would compare strategies for managing the men.”
Heldman joined an AM Joy discussion Sunday about the suspension of Bolling after HuffPost reported that he had sent dick pics to at least three different female Fox colleagues.
Bolling would also contact me via phone and text after shows, sometimes to apologize for his behavior (and then do it again), and sometimes just to talk. He said he wanted to fly me out to New York for in-studio hits and to have “fun.” He asked me to have meals with him on several occasions, but I found excuses not to go. Once, he took me up to his office in New York, showed me his baseball jerseys, and in the brief time I was there, let me know that his office was his favorite place to have sex.
Heldman has previously come forward with sexual harassment allegations against Fox host Bill O’Reilly and producer Woody Fraser. In her Saturday Facebook post, she also fingered Fox guests Gene Simmons and Lenny Dykstra.
“How far does this date back?” host Joy Reid asked. “Did this begin almost immediately when you began appearing on Fox or did it start to happen over time?”
“It began immediately,” Heldman said. “It was part of the culture. It was part of the environment” and “something that was accepted.”
“It was very clear to me,” she added, “I would have immediately have been off air had I complained." Heldman was a frequent guest on Fox from 2008-2011, she said.
Reid went on to ask if Heldman had discussed sexual harassment with other women at Fox.
HELDMAN: Yes, there were frequent conversations. I find the makeup and hair artists to be the most knowledgeable about it. But also I had many conversations with contributors and hosts about the inappropriate behavior of the men at Fox. We would compare strategies for managing the men, that’s how bad it was.
Heldman stressed that not every man at Fox behaved inappropriately and that there were many there she respects.
Writers Gabriel Sherman and Eric Boehlert were also part of the discussion. All three guests agreed that the quick suspension of Bolling represented genuine progress. But, as Sherman pointed out, the “really grotesque allegations” that keep surfacing prove that there is still plenty of housecleaning that needs to be done.
“I don’t know what the Murdochs are afraid of because the channel is now imploding piece by piece,” Boehlert said. “They can run a conservative cable news channel without having it resemble a sexual harassment criminal enterprise.”
While nobody discussed Donald Trump’s own sexual harassment of women, the connections between Fox and Trump did not go unnoticed. Former Fox co-president Bill Shine, implicated in the cover-up of former chief Roger Ailes’ sexual misconduct, and originally promoted after Ailes was pushed out, only to be eventually pushed out, himself, recently dined at the White House with Trump (and other Fox News personnel) and was reportedly under consideration to join his communications team.
“Trump is the Fox News id,” Boehlert said.
Watch this fascinating discussion below, from the August 6, 2017 AM Joy.
Former FOX news guest Caroline Heldman joins Joy Reid to discuss her allegations that FOX's Eric Bolling sexually harassed her. Joy and her panel discuss.