A longtime Fox News host who hasn’t appeared on the network since mid-March has repeatedly complained about how the network has sidelined her and suggested her bosses and her own show have been outright ignoring her.
Fox & Friends First co-anchor Heather Childers, who has been with the network since 2010, has griped on social media that despite testing negative for the coronavirus, she has been effectively benched by Fox amid the pandemic. (Throughout the crisis, the network has relied on Childers’ colleagues Jillian Mele and Carley Shimkus to anchor the 4 a.m. early lead-in to Fox & Friends, the network’s morning talk-show staple beloved by the president.)
Responding to one cable-news fan account calling for Fox News to “Let MISS HEATHER WORK AGAIN,” which in turn was a reaction to Childers approvingly retweeting a White House post about reopening the economy, the TV host tweeted on April 17 that she’d “love to be back at work,” adding that it’s been “4 weeks and counting.”
“Looking forward to returning to @FoxFriendsFirst 4am,” she posted in a separate tweet that same day. “Thanks to those who’ve checked on me. I’m Covid19 negative (twice) just waiting. When this is over don’t forget about the many people who are always alone everyday, feeling forgotten & unessential without a pandemic. I won’t.”
Childers has repeatedly made reference to having tested negative for the virus, telling one fan who asked where she’s been: “I haven’t been sick at all. I just don’t have a home studio and I’m not one of the ones chosen to work in the building,” accompanied by bitmoji artwork of herself shrugging.
Two days later, however, Childers replied to that same fan account, this time publicly stating that no one from the network or Fox & Friends First staff has contacted her—again, she noted, despite having tested negative.
“I haven’t heard from anyone at all from @FoxFriendsFirst or @FoxNews on social media or emails,” she tweeted on April 19. “Everyone is just busy I’m sure. I’ve sent all my negative COVID19 test results & full negative respiratory pathogen reports along [with] all my vitals including temp from back on March 19.”
That same day, Childers complained that it had been more than a month since she worked, and called upon President Donald Trump to step in and “please get us all back to work.” And in a seemingly not-so-subtle remark about her Fox News bosses, she added: “Negative #Covid19 or any testing is worthless if ignored by employers & municipalities.”
In fact, since at least late March, Childers has repeatedly suggested that her own show and bosses have ignored her. Asked on March 31 why she hadn’t appeared in a while, the host explained: “I haven’t received a response from the negative COVID19 results combined with my healthy medical vitals from the day before the last day I was on.”
Several days later, Childers was even more blatant, tagging the Fox & Friends First and Fox & Friends accounts to remind everyone: “I’m here & #Covid19 negative… Officially never had mild temp or “corona cough” since before my last day on 4AM, during or after.”
A week later, Childers responded to a fan account asking why her name was omitted from the broadcast: “I’m sure this was just an oversight by producers & @CarleyShimkus & @SchmittNYC… I still haven’t heard anything from any of the @FoxFriendsFirst team or @FoxNews for a couple weeks.”
And then, seemingly growing more passive-aggressive in tone, Childers added, “I’m sure they’re thankful I’m COVID19 negative- TWICE negative by two different doctors & two different labs.” She concluded, “I think Fox is just busy keeping everyone safe. I’m sure it was an oversight,” before once again directly tagging her own colleagues: “I think @FoxFriendsFirst social media accounts still follow me so hopefully know I’m healthy.”
Since her final appearance in mid-March, Childers has made a repeated point of telling her followers that she has tested negative for COVID-19, routinely tweeting that she has not exhibited any symptoms, hadn’t been in contact with the virus, and is completely healthy. Throughout March, several Fox News employees in New York tested positive for the novel coronavirus, resulting in increased safety measures at the studio.
In other posts, Childers struck a more optimistic tone, telling one fan in a heart emoji-emblazoned reply that that she will return to air soon, but is just “waiting until it is safe to return to the building.” Elsewhere, she wrote: “Who’s ready to get back to work safely? I can’t wait to get back to work for you on @FoxFriendsFirst.”
Childers is hardly alone among cable-news personalities who’ve seen their workloads drastically reduced amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Staffing levels at Fox News’ New York and D.C. bureaus have been reduced to only what network CEO Suzanne Scott called “the minimum number of employees needed to execute our content.” Many hosts and pundits have appeared via home studios, but those without access to such capabilities are less likely to be featured.
Similarly, rival network CNN recently informed staff that the majority of employees won’t return to the network’s offices until at least September, likely foreshadowing similar announcements from Fox and MSNBC, especially as New York City is on lockdown until at least May 15.
Fox News did not respond to a request for comment on this story.