Michael Clemente, a former executive vice president at Fox News has been let go tonight. According to CNN, Clemente’s departure is not related to the sexual harassment scandal that forced CEO Roger Ailes to resign last week.
Michael Clemente, a longtime executive vice president of News at Fox who was effectively demoted earlier this year, has left the network, spokespeople confirmed. Peter Boyer, a former New Yorker writer who recently served as Clemente’s number two, has also left.
Network insiders say the move was unrelated to the recent sexual harassment allegations surrounding Ailes, though it’s also true that Clemente showed no signs of leaving the network prior to the scandal.
So why would a guy who supposedly has nothing to do with the sexual harassment scandal and who had already been sidelined suddenly get the axe almost before the door had stopped swinging from Ailes’ departure?
Now, it could be because Clemente got word that he will definitely not be replacing Ailes. However, according to New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, that message had already been delivered to Clemente in a corporate shakeup in April.
But another paragraph in that same New York article may have a clue:
One Fox anchor told me that Ailes suspected Clemente of leaking to the press over the past year. Inside Fox, where executives use burner phones because they fear their corporate lines are monitored, there’s not much worse than being labeled a leaker. Another mark against Clemente is that he had a relationship with Rupert Murdoch. Ailes is said to dislike executives who build up independent power bases, and talking to Murdoch, Ailes’s boss, would be seen as a threat. Lastly, Clemente, a former ABC News executive, never fully shed the stigma that he was an outsider. (Politically, he’s a centrist). His replacement, Jay Wallace, is a longtime Fox executive, who’s risen up through the ranks over the past decade.
Could Clemente have been a source for some of the reporting about sexual harassment at the network? About some of the findings of the outside investigation, such as Megyn Kelly telling the investigators that she had been harassed by Ailes?
Whatever the reason, this has got to be causing more tremors in an already shaken network. Yesterday, I quoted Sherman on CNN when he noted that the guy who is now in line for succession to the Ailes throne, Bill Shine, was part of a cover up of the harassment at Fox. I also quoted CNN’s Dylan Byers when he said the following:
BYERS: If you’re starting to talk about getting rid of Bill—you know, Bill Shine, Jay Wallace, Michael Clemente, all of those figures, you’re running into a situation where you really have no one who knows how to run this network on a day-to-day basis.
Earlier today, Sherman tweeted that Shine has retained a lawyer.
The Murdochs are starting from the top and working their way down to clean up the remains of Ailes’ henchman. This must be done before the new head of Fox “News”/Fox “Business” is hired. They don’t want the new chairman to deal with leftover mess from Ailes.
Next on the list is Shine. He needs to be ousted ASAP. Other suits Cagey and Mitchy better start talking or start walking.
Coming down the pipeline:
New changes announced at the Foxies late this summer.
NOTE TO MURDOCHS
Get rid of Shine and Doocy, and all violators of 21st Century Fox’s Standards of Business Conduct, or we will call out the Company to all colleagues that the policy is does not apply to senior executives/senior producers, etc.
Note to Goofy Doocy: Update your resume and retain a lawyer.
He wants to “spend more time with family”™.
NOTE TO MURDOCHS/21st CENTURY FOX
You have violators of this policy still working at Fox “News” Channel. You know who they are. Get rid of them now! Or we will continue to plaster this policy to all social and global media every week. Uphold this policy and immediately remove the sexual predators at Fox “News” Channel.
21st Century Fox Standards Of Business Conduct
“Non-Discrimination: We make all employment related decisions (hiring, promotion, compensation, etc.) without unlawful regard to a person’s race, color, religion, age, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, disability, military or veteran’s status, marital status or any other characteristic prohibited from consideration by the laws of the countries, states and cities in which we do business.
Harrassment-Free: We endeavor to ensure that the workplace is free of bullying and unlawful harassment, whether that harassment is sexual in nature, or is based on an employee’s sex, race, religion or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. It is our policy to investigate promptly and thoroughly any 21CF colleague complaint of discrimination or harassment, and to take remedial measures, if the Company determines that there has been a violation of the Company’s policy against such conduct.
It kind of sounds like they burned Clemente as a kind of twisted favor to outgoing Ailes. If Clemente came out of ABC, he probably knew how to be professional and not play grabass in the office. The old Faux hands? They will bear watching. The parent company might want to hang a few more trophies on the wall.