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Roger Ailes’ legacy was perfectly commemorated at the 2017 Emmy awards

  • Heather Landy
By Heather Landy

Executive editor of Quartz

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

During the “in memoriam” death montage at the 2017 Emmy awards, one of the biggest names in television history flashed on the screen and no one in the live audience applauded.


It was a stark departure from the rule that the most boldfaced of names among the dearly departed always get the biggest cheers. Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, who died in May at the age of 77, certainly garnered none of the cheering reserved for Hollywood royalty like Carrie Fisher. There wasn’t even a smattering of polite clapping.

Indeed, if there was any reaction in the Microsoft Theater when Ailes’ name and photograph appeared on screen at the 2:21 mark, sandwiched between those of the producer and writer Gary Glasberg and the soap opera creator Agnes Nixon, it wasn’t perceptible to those of us watching from home.

Fox News fans would likely chalk up the snub to liberal snobbery. Indeed, the auditorium full of Hollywood’s elite probably seated few fans of Ailes, whose craven cynicism, paired with media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s money, birthed the right-wing Fox News network in 1996 and sustained it for nearly two decades, before a wave of sexual-harassment allegations led to his resignation in 2016.

Either way, for a television executive who seemed to relish the responses he provoked in people throughout his career, and indeed handsomely profited from them, the absence of any reaction to his passing from an audience full of industry luminaries was a decent bit of comeuppance.

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