‘Penis Pic’ Probe Ends Eric Bolling’s Odious Run at Fox News
After probing allegations of sexual misconduct, Fox finally parted ways with one of its most obnoxious right-wing stars.
Fox News on Friday announced that it has shown the door to Eric Bolling after a month of investigating claims that he sexually harassed several of his colleagues.
“Fox News Channel is canceling ‘The Specialists,’ and Eric Bolling and Fox have agreed to part ways amicably,” the cable-news outlet wrote in a statement. “We thank Eric for his ten years of service to our loyal viewers and wish him the best of luck.”
The Huffington Post’s Yashar Ali reported in early August, based on multiple sources, that Bolling had sent unsolicited lewd messages via smartphone to female colleagues. Bolling was suspended pending an outside law firm’s investigation, and his denial—that he “recalls no such inappropriate communications [and] does not believe he sent any such communications”—raised eyebrows.
The host sued Ali for defamation, and has not withdrawn the $50 million complaint even after his split with Fox suggests there was meat to the reporting.
Bolling’s 10-year tenure with the right-wing cable outlet was one marked by casual on-air sexism, racism, and the unabashed dabbling in debunked conspiracy theories. Though he came to the network as a former commodities trader with ostensible business insight, his career at Fox more resembled that of a right-wing rodeo clown.
Bolling was among the first Fox News personalities to publicly promote the debunked conspiracy theory that President Obama’s birth certificate was a fraud and that Obama was actually born in Kenya. In one particularly notorious segment of his long-ago-canceled Fox Business Network show, Follow the Money, Bolling and anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller combed over a poster-board print of the then-president’s birth certificate with a green laser-pointer, alleging parts of it were digitally manipulated.
He alluded to the conspiracy wherever possible, at one point addressing Obama’s budget plans as such: “How does increasing taxes count as spending cuts in your world, Mr. Obama? Maybe in Kenya, but certainly not here.”
And when Obama met with the president of Gambia in 2011, Bolling declared on his show: “It’s not the first time he’s had a hoodlum in the hizzouse,” adding, “So what’s with all the hoods in the hizzie?”
Earlier that same year, channeling the fever-swamp rhetoric of conservative talk radio, the Fox host said Obama was too busy “chugging forties” to visit a tornado-ravaged Joplin, Missouri.
Additionally, in 2012, after Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, who is black, described Republican leaders as “demons,” Bolling responded: “Congresswoman, you saw what happened to Whitney Houston. Step away from the crack pipe.”
Outside of his alleged sexual misconduct in the workplace, Bolling’s sexism extended to his on-air persona.
As The Daily Beast reported immediately after Bolling’s suspension, the Fox star had repeatedly and dismissively referred to a frequent guest, Occidental College professor Caroline Heldman, as “Doctor McHottie” and “smart, beautiful, and wrong” while on the air.
“This on-air behavior was perfectly acceptable to Fox executives at the time,” Heldman recalled in a Facebook post. She added that Bolling would often contact her “sometimes to apologize for his behavior (and then do it again)” and sometimes to invite her out to New York to have “fun.”
She further alleged: “Once, he took me up to his office in New York, showed me his baseball jerseys, and in the brief time I was there, let me know that his office was his favorite place to have sex.”
Among Bolling’s other piggish greatest hits: declaring to his female co-hosts on The Five that men are “more successful, we’re better traders, we’re better leaders, and we’re better athletes,” and, more infamously, referring to the first female pilot for the United Arab Emirates, who participated in bombing ISIS militants, as “boobs on the ground.”
In the wake of his departure, Fox News will cancel The Specialists, the 5 p.m. talk show Bolling co-hosted with Kat Timpf and Eboni Williams. The early primetime slot will now be filled in the interim by news programming with rotating hosts. Timpf and Williams will remain contributors to the network.
Bolling’s media career may not be over, however, as one former Fox executive noted to The Daily Beast. Along with being the first birther at Fox News, he was also among the first to hop on the Trump train during the 2016 election.
The self-described “friend of [the] Trump family” was routinely teased by Fox colleagues for being a Trump “apologist” who “Trumpsplained” away the president’s every questionable move. Bolling allegedly kicked to the curb one long-time guest because of her spat with the Trump campaign, and his interviews with the eventual president were pure, uncut fluff. The president even promoted Bolling’s pro-Trump book on Twitter earlier this year.
During Trump’s transition, in November 2016, Bolling was spotted at Trump Tower amid rumors that he was considered for a White House role. It would make sense for Bolling to finally work for Trump, as the president’s re-election campaign funds a new video project aimed at countering the media.
“They’re already in bed together,” the former Fox executive said. “Now they can stop pretending.”