For the first time, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith has publicly acknowledged that he is gay.
He didn’t do a magazine cover or a television interview or even utter the words ‘I’m gay.’ Instead, he does so in the context of speaking about ousted Fox News head Roger Ailes in a major sexual harassment scandal.
There had been past reports that Ailes had stopped Smith from coming out publicly years ago.
‘That’s not true. He was as nice as he could be to me. I loved him like a father,’ Smith tells Huffington Post in an article about a post-Ailes Fox News.
‘He was very fatherly and mentorish,’ he also said of Ailes. ‘And now I know that there were other things going on here.’
As details of Ailes’ rampant sexual harassment allegations emerged, he was also accused of using homophobic slurs.
Smith said Ailes never used them when he was around.
‘He treated me with respect, just respect,’ he said.
‘I wasn’t new in the business when I came here ― I’d been doing reporting for 12 years ― but I wasn’t old in it either, and he gave me every opportunity in the world and he never asked anything of me but that we get it right, try to get it right every day. It was a very warm and loving and comfortable place.’
Smith said he trusted Ailes with his career.
‘I trusted him and trusts were betrayed. People outside this company can’t know [how painful that betrayal was]. This place has its enemies, but inside, it was very personal, and very scarring and horrifying.’
Smith, 52, is the former host of Fox Report with Shepard Smith and Studio B weekdays on Fox News Channel. In October 2013, he became the host of Shepard Smith Reporting as well as the managing editor of Fox News Channel’s Breaking News Division.
He will be helping to anchor the third and final presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on Wednesday (19 October).