All the media men held to a higher standard than Trump, starting with Billy Bush

Image: Reuters/Mike Segar
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Another day, another male media titan is shown the door for allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct. This morning, Matt Lauer, the famed Today show co-host, was fired by NBC after the network said it received a “detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.” Journalists on Twitter suggested that media outlets, including Variety and the New York Times, had been investigating such allegations in recent weeks.

US president Donald Trump weighed in on the development in a series of tweets expressing his surprise and condemning the “fake news” media for its actions.

Trump’s comments were quickly met on Twitter by irate critics with reminders that the president himself has been publicly accused of sexual misconduct or sexual assault by at least 17 women.

Many brought up those allegations, along with references to the now infamous Access Hollywood tape, made public during the 2016 election cycle, in which Trump is heard bragging about behavior that would constitute sexual assault, including kissing women without notice and grabbing women “by the pussy.”

Although he apologized for his comments last year, Trump been recently begun telling allies that the tape may have been doctored in some way, the New York Times reported.

In addition to Lauer, here is a rundown of some of the media figures who have been shown the door for inappropriate behavior involving women, starting with the other man in the Access Hollywood tape: Billy Bush.

A (growing) list of men in media who were fired or suspended for allegations of sexual harassment, assault, or general misconduct toward women

Billy Bush

Billy Bush was ousted from NBC’s Today in the fallout from the 2005 Access Hollywood tape, made public by the Washington Post (paywall) in October of last year.

Less than two weeks after the tape surfaced, he was suspended and later fired from the program. While Bush himself did not describe any untoward actions toward women in the video, he is heard goading on Trump and laughing at his crude remarks.

The Post reported Bush received a multimillion-dollar severance package and signed a nondisclosure agreement to keep him from speaking publicly about the firing.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter in May, Bush said he was preparing for a comeback, and also took responsibility for what he characterized as a moral failing on his part:

“Looking back upon what was said on that bus, I wish I had changed the topic. [Trump] liked TV and competition. I could’ve said, ‘Can you believe the ratings on whatever?’ But I didn’t have the strength of character to do it.”

Roger Ailes

Longtime Fox News chief Roger Ailes was forced to resign from the network after a slew of complaints of sexual harassment were made against him by female colleagues, including former anchor Gretchen Carlson.

Ailes denied her allegations of sexual harassment and wrongful termination, but was nevertheless ousted from the company. Carlson received a $20 million settlement (paywall) from Fox News’ parent company stemming from the allegations.

Ailes died in May, just under a year after he was forced out at Fox.

Bill O’Reilly

Bill O’Reilly was fired from Fox News in April after a New York Times investigation made public a string of settlements paid on his behalf to several women who came forward with complaints of sexual harassment and misconduct.

“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement.

O’Reilly has called the allegations against him “unfounded” and said it was “tremendously disheartening” that he should leave the network on these terms.

Harvey Weinstein

Media mogul Harvey Weinstein was fired on Oct. 8 (paywall) after investigations published in the New York Times and the New Yorker made public a pattern of accusations of sexual assault and misconduct that spanned decades.

The complaints against Weinstein include rape of three women, as well as sexual assault and harassment of dozens of others, including ”masturbating, exposing himself and unwelcome touching,” the Times reported.

Weinstein, who has denied any instances of nonconsensual sex, provided a statement to the Times after the initial story ran which said in part, “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.”

Mark Halperin

Prominent political journalist Mark Halperin was fired from both MSNBC and NBC News and had a book deal pulled after at least five women who worked with him years earlier at ABC News accused him of sexual harassment.

The allegations against Halperin, first published by CNN, include three women who said Halperin pressed his erect penis against their bodies.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Halperin apologized “to the women I mistreated,” and said he was sorry for the “pain and anguish I have caused by my past actions.”

Mike Oreskes

The head of NPR’s news division Michael Oreskes was forced to resign following media reports of sexual harassment when he was the Washington bureau chief of the New York Times in the 1990s, as well as a contemporary complaint by current NPR employee Rebecca Hersher.

“I am deeply sorry to the people I hurt. My behavior was wrong and inexcusable, and I accept full responsibility,”Oreskes said.

In a note to staff on Tuesday, NPR CEO Jarl Mohn said the company takes sexual harassment allegations seriously and encouraged people to come forward if they have been subject to inappropriate behavior. “If a concern is raised, we review the matter promptly. We take all appropriate steps to assure a safe, comfortable, and productive work environment for everyone at NPR. … This is our NPR. And I will stand up for it, and every one of you,” he said.

David Sweeney

Less than a month after Oreskes resigned, NPR’s chief news editor David Sweeney also stepped down following accusations of sexual harassment, which came to light after the public radio company conducted a formal internal review.

“David Sweeney is no longer on staff,” Chris Turpin, acting senior vice president of news, told NPR staff in an email. “This is a difficult time for our newsroom and I’m committed to supporting all of you as we move forward. I know you appreciate that there are some questions I cannot answer in keeping with our practice to not comment on personnel issues, but I will do my best to address those I can.”

Lockhart Steele

Vox Media’s editorial director and former CEO Lockhart Steele was fired for sexual harassment following allegations made by a former employee.

That employee, Eden Rohatensky, had written in a viral Medium post titled “Why I’m not surprised when I hear that powerful men are fucking creeps” on Oct. 12 that she was subject to inappropriate advances and sexual harassment during her tenure at an unnamed company.

In a statement, Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff wrote that Steele “admitted engaging in conduct that is inconsistent with our core values and will not be tolerated at Vox Media.”

Jason Mojica

The head of Vice Media’s documentary films unit Jason Mojica was suspended after an employee alleged she was sexually harassed, Variety reported.

In a statement to the Daily Beast (which published an investigation into a “toxic” culture for women at Vice) the company said: “The nature of Vice’s content runs the gamut, from travelogues and news series to more provocative programming like our shows exploring drug culture, Weediquette and Bong Appétit. A non-traditional workplace agreement is often used by companies to certify employees’ comfort with content that could be considered edgy. However, it does not in any way sanction conduct that is disrespectful or biased, and we will investigate all allegations of such behavior, including any incidents where employees purportedly attempted to justify their conduct through the agreement. We have immediately begun reviewing this matter.”

Glenn Thrush

Political journalist for the New York Times Glenn Thrush was suspended pending an investigation after Vox published a story detailing claims of sexual misconduct by Thrush.

The allegations against Thrush include groping and unwanted kissing.

“I apologize to any woman who felt uncomfortable in my presence, and for any situation where I behaved inappropriately,” Thrush said in a statement to Vox, adding that he has been dealing with an alcohol abuse problem. “Over the past several years, I have responded to a succession of personal and health crises by drinking heavily. During that period, I have done things that I am ashamed of, actions that have brought great hurt to my family and friends. I have not taken a drink since June 15, 2017, have resumed counseling and will soon begin out-patient treatment for alcoholism. I am working hard to repair the damage I have done.”

Charlie Rose

Charlie Rose was fired by CBS as a co-anchor on CBS This Morning after a Washington Post story detailed allegations made by eight women who claimed they were sexually harassed. The behavior he is accused of includes groping, lewd advances, and flashing.

Rose said in a statement posted on Twitter that “it is essential that these women know I hear them and that I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior.”

CBS News president David Rhodes said in a statement to staff that “despite Charlie’s important journalistic contribution to our news division, there is absolutely nothing more important, in this or any organization, than ensuring a safe, professional workplace.”