VOICE OVER: Callum Janes
WRITTEN BY: Don Ekama
It seems these news anchors ruffled the wrong feathers and got fired for it. For this list, we'll be looking at controversial events that resulted in the dismissal of news hosts. Our countdown includes Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Jane Akre, Bill O'Reilly, and more!
It seems these news anchors ruffled the wrong feathers and got fired for it. For this list, we’ll be looking at controversial events that resulted in the dismissal of news hosts. Our countdown includes Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Jane Akre, Bill O'Reilly, and more! Did we miss any other dismissal-worthy scandals? Let us know in the comments.
#10: Rick Sanchez
The broadcasting career of Rick Sanchez began from as early as his college days. The Cuban-American news host cut his teeth working for local affiliate stations in Miami and Houston before getting on the national stage in the early 2000s. In 2004, Sanchez joined CNN, where he eventually started hosting his own show, “Rick’s List.” Feeling slighted over the replacement of his program in its primetime slot, Sanchez went on an anti-semitic rant in an interview with Pete Dominick. It didn’t take too long for the consequences of his remarks to materialize. He was fired the very next day by CNN, with his show airing its last episode that same night.
#9: Bob Beckel
The late Bob Beckel served as a co-host of the Fox News show “The Five” from 2011 to 2015. Beckel’s time on the program was marred by multiple controversial remarks, including some targeted at Muslims and Asian-Americans. He was initially let go by the news station after missing his show for months, while he recuperated from back surgery. Beckel was brought back on the program two years later, only to receive the chop - again - for uttering racially insensitive comments at an African-American employee. In a time when multiple top figures at the network were dealing with harassment allegations, Fox News decided to save face by parting ways with Beckel, this time for good.
#8: Charlie Rose
As a TV journalist with over forty years of experience, Charlie Rose built an esteemed reputation for himself and anchored different shows on multiple networks. All of that came crumbling down in the wake of the 2017 #MeToo movement. In November of that year, an article was published by The Washington Post, which uncovered multiple allegations of misconduct against the famed host. Within 24 hours of the publication, Rose’s shows were suspended, and he was quickly taken off the anchor’s chair. Rose released an apology soon after, accepting responsibility for his actions yet still trying to undermine some of the allegations leveled against him.
#7: Eric Bolling
A conservative pundit and television host, Eric Bolling began his TV career as a financial analyst on CNBC’s “Fast Money.” He made the transition to the Fox Business Network in the late 2000s, and eventually worked his way up to becoming one of the hosts on “The Five.” But Bolling’s steady rise at Fox would go into freefall in September 2017 when an article by “HuffPost” alleged misconduct on his part. The report claimed that Bolling has repeatedly sent inappropriate pictures and text messages to his female co-workers. Bolling quickly came out to deny the allegations, but he was suspended by the network while they investigated the claims. About a month later, Bolling was dismissed and his show was ultimately canceled.
#6: Ed Henry
During his time as the Chief White House Correspondent for Fox News, Ed Henry was hit with a scandal that jeopardized his career. It was alleged that Henry had engaged in an extramarital affair with a Las Vegas cocktail hostess. This revelation led to a four-month suspension from the network, after which Henry slowly tried to rehabilitate his reputation. In 2020, however, more allegations were uncovered against the news host. This time, Henry was sued by two women, who maintained that they were harassed and assaulted by him. Henry was suspended by the network when the accusations came to light, and eventually fired after an investigation was carried out.
#5: Dan Rather
Two weeks before the 2004 U.S. Presidential Elections, CBS aired an episode of “60 Minutes II” in which Dan Rather presented a series of memos called the Killian documents. These memos contained false allegations about former President George W. Bush’s service in the Texas National Air Guard. As soon as the documents hit the internet, they were heavily scrutinized and alleged to be forgeries. Following weeks of mounting pressure, CBS retracted the story and fired the producers who brought it to the screen. Although Rather stayed on much longer, he was eventually pushed out of the network after more than four decades working with them. The controversial events were dramatized in the 2015 movie “Truth.”
#4: Jane Akre
Jane Akre spent years working as a reporter for local and national stations, but she is mostly known for her whistleblower case against WTVT, a Fox affiliate. In 1997, Akre and her then-husband Steve Wilson put together a damning report about a biotechnology company called Monsanto. In a bid to kill the story, Monsanto reached out to Roger Ailes, the then-Fox News president, informing him of the report’s potential consequences. WTVT then chose to dump the story and refused to renew Akre and Wilson’s contracts the next year. The couple took this as wrongful termination and filed a lawsuit against the network. Following a trial that dragged on for years, the court ruled in favor of WTVT, only siding with Akre on her whistleblower claim.
#3: Chris Cuomo
Once a top-rated anchor at CNN, Chris Cuomo was fired by the news giant for his role in defending his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The once-beloved governor was alleged to have harassed multiple women over the course of his long political career. Citing a conflict of interest, Cuomo decided not to report on any of the allegations leveled against his brother on his primetime news program. But an investigation by the New York attorney general’s office revealed that he had secretly helped the former governor mount a defense against incoming harassment claims. This led to CNN suspending Cuomo indefinitely, and eventually taking him off the network in December 2021.
#2: Matt Lauer
At the time of his dismissal, Matt Lauer had spent twenty years co-hosting NBC’s popular “Today” morning show. During his time at the network, Lauer interviewed several high-ranking political figures, covered multiple Olympic Games, and was once being paid a $20 million annual salary. In November 2017, NBC fired Lauer after a female colleague brought forward allegations of inappropriate behavior by the famed anchor. More allegations trickled in as time went by, with some sources claiming that the network was aware of Lauer’s misconduct and chose to do nothing about it. Lauer issued a statement after his termination, in which he claimed to be embarrassed by the accusations, but still dismissed some of them as false.
#1: Bill O’Reilly
Topping our list is the scandal that brought down one of the most popular news anchors in broadcasting history. Bill O’Reilly was the host of “The O’Reilly Factor” on the Fox News Channel, which was the number-one cable news show for 16 years straight. O’Reilly was ousted from the network in April 2017, after a bombshell report by The New York Times. The article revealed a series of harassment lawsuits brought against O’Reilly and the millions of dollars he had paid as settlement to his victims. The revelations caused the show to lose a significant proportion of its advertisers and O’Reilly was pushed out of the network. He currently hosts a show on the conservative streaming platform The First TV.