Fox News Channel suspended longtime host Eric Bolling on Saturday, amid a report that he sent lewd texts to female co-workers at the network.
Bolling, co-host of the weekday Fox program “The Specialists” and former co-host of “The Five,” is the latest Fox employee to be accused of inappropriate sexual behavior in the 13 months since the network was consumed by allegations of sexual harassment against its co-founder and then-chairman, the late Roger Ailes.
According to a report in HuffPost, Bolling, 54, texted a photo of male genitalia to two colleagues at Fox Business Network, and one to a co-worker at Fox News. The website didn’t reveal the names of the alleged recipients, but said they are Bolling’s current and former colleagues. The messages were sent several years ago and were unsolicited, it said.
In a statement issued Saturday afternoon, Fox said it had suspended Bolling “pending the results of an investigation, which is currently underway.” The law firm Paul Weiss, which has conducted a series of investigations into harassment at the network, is investigating the allegations against Bolling.
Last summer, Ailes was forced out of his job after former “Fox & Friends” host Gretchen Carlson filed suit against him. Her suit — quickly settled for $20 million — unleashed a series of accusations against Fox executives and on-air personalities by women who work at the company.
In April, the network forced out its biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, after the New York Times reported that he and Fox had settled five harassment suits or complaints dating back more than a decade. Network president Bill Shine resigned soon after.
Bolling’s attorney Michael J. Bowe told HuffPost that Bolling “recalls no such inappropriate communications, does not believe he sent any such communications, and will vigorously pursue his legal remedies for any false and defamatory accusations that are made.”
In addition to “The Specialists,” Bolling co-hosts a weekend business-discussion program on Fox called “Cashin’ In.” On Friday, Bolling taped an episode of that program, but Fox pulled it after HuffPost published its story.
Bolling, a conservative whose recently published book was endorsed by President Trump, was merciless in his commentary when former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) was involved in several incidents of sexting, beginning in 2014. After Weiner pleaded guilty in May to federal charges of exchanging lewd messages with an underage girl, Bolling called him “a sick human being, to continue to do this time and time again, continue to get caught, saying he’s not going to do it again, gets caught again.”
Bolling is one of several Fox News personalities who have reportedly been under consideration for positions in the Trump Administration. In November he was said to have discussed an appointment as commerce secretary, but recently signed a long-term contract extension with Fox.
In an interview with NJ.com in June, Bolling said he would eventually like to run for office: “When the lights go down on my TV career, the next step is running for Senate.”
According to HuffPost, four people, in addition to the recipients, said they had seen the photo that Bolling allegedly sent. Eight others said the recipients had spoken to them about it.