Fox News’ liberal-leaning anti-Trump midday news anchor Shepard Smith is by far the least favorite and least watched host on the top-rated network among its legions of viewers, and now there is a movement afoot that could potentially lead to his removal from the air altogether.
The push to get Smith off the air comes by way of a petition currently circulating that demands his suspension so that an investigation can be conducted into recent allegations of sexual assault lodged against the news anchor, which, if sufficiently damning, could ultimately result in his dismissal.
Sexual assault claim
The story broke on Friday of how a 35-year-old man, identified only as “John Doe #1,” claimed in an interview to have been assaulted by Smith after meeting him at a New York City bar in 2004.
The man claimed to have later awoken in a bedrom to find Smith, who is openly gay, on top of him and making aggressive movements.
The anonymous accuser further claimed that he had to stop Smith’s advances again when the anchor repeatedly made attempts to grab him inappropriately and kiss him.
The man was eventually able to escape from Smith and has now shared his story with the public. Fox News did not respond to requests for comment.
Petition to suspend Smith
In light of the serious, yet unproven allegations against the Fox News host, a petition is circulating that calls on the network to temporarily suspend Smith and conduct an investigation in to the claim.
The petition noted that Fox suspended Fox Business Network host Charles Payne in July 2017 when allegations of sexual misconduct were lodged against him.
An investigation into the claims against Payne ultimately determined that there was no merit to the allegations, and Payne was later reinstated to his prior position on the sister network of Fox News.
Those petitioning in regard to Smith demand that, in order to avoid an appearance of hypocrisy or special treatment, Smith be similarly suspended until an investigation into the claims against him can be completed.
Ideally, should an investigation ultimately exonerate Smith, he would quickly return to the airwaves — but if such a process fails to clear the host, he should be fired.
It remains to be seen if anything comes of the allegations against Smith or this petition demanding he be suspended, but odds are the story won’t simply disappear any time soon, and Fox may find itself unable to ignore the calls of its viewers if it attempts to sidestep dealing with what could potentially be a major mark against one of its prominent news anchors.