Did Fox News Demote Shepard Smith Because He Wanted To Come Out?

Shepard SmithShepard Smith, the Fox News anchor with the glass closet door and the 26-year-old boyfriend, hasn’t exactly been riding high at the network, having been bumped from prime time last year. Now Gawker explains just why Smith’s star has fallen at the network. It’s because he wanted to come out.

According to Gawker, Smith told Fox News president Roger Ailes that “it’s time” for him to come out. Ailes would have none of it and ordered Smith not to reveal he’s gay (as if the world didn’t already know) because the Fox viewership, with an average age of Methuselah, would never accept it. Smith, who has always described Ailes as a second father to him, acquiesced.

Smith’s downfall apparently was precipitated by an executive picnic, to which Smith brought boyfriend Gio Graziano. Not all the Fox News executives were comfortable with the couple. In particular, Bill Shine, executive vice president of programming “flipped out,” one source told Gawker. “He’s a major, major homophobe,” said another.

Shine decided that Smith was a potential problem and engineered the demotion. Ailes assented, fearful of what Smith’s sexuality might mean to the ratings. Smith was moved out of his prime spot in what was played as a promotion but seems to have been anything but. Gawker says that Fox News PR is under orders from Ailes to head off any discussion of Smith’s sexuality. We all know how well that’s worked.

Smith and Fox have issued a statement, calling the Gawker article “100% false and a complete fabrication.(And who better to know about fabrications than Fox News?) Perhaps more telling is Shine’s reaction. He didn’t dispute the story, other than to say he didn’t attend the fateful picnic.


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  • Snapper59

    This is just a hit piece against Fox News. When is Ronan Farrow coming out? I understand he would but Rachel Maddow is a homophobe. Besides which they’ve pitched Ronan as so dreamy and cute that you can’t tell those housewives watching he’s a big old bossy bottom. And you know the out Thomas Roberts who was moved from a daytime hour long show to 30 minutes at 4am, 2am west coast time? That was a “promotion” for him.

  • Snapper59

    Oh by the way, viewers already know, and his orientation has nothing to do with his original show’s declining ratings compared to what was before and after him. It was his liberal spin that made him no different from the other Obama lap dog media.

  • Mezaien

    O.M.G Snapper59, white Christian republican again.

  • woodin

    I don’t buy the gay angle to this story line. In a lot of social situations and certainly business cultures and in this case an exclusive intraculture company picnic, anyone bringing a date or significant other hetro or gay half their age certainly would elicit gossip and reassessments (fair/unfair) to the person’s character and judgement.

    May to December relations and in the case the reversal have always generate gossip, speculation and innuendo. i.e. Calvin Klein, Woody Allen,
    Johnny Depp, Al Pacino, Demi Moore

  • BJ McFrisky

    Sure, if by “demote” you mean giving him an insane salary and a show with his name in the title and building him a massive, state-of-the-art newsroom with 90-inch computer monitors . . . that’s a demotion most news anchors would take any day. Maybe his next demotion will involve three-month paid vacations and seven-figure bonuses.

    For a pro-gay site, Queerty certainly seems to go out of its way to manufacture hatred against us.

  • xzall

    Some of these comments are ridiculous. Most of the old coots that watch Fox News are too busy worrying about someone taking away their guns and about how ‘Obummer’ is taking away their freedom and of course, Benghazi to even consider the fact that Shepherd Smith might not be ‘one of them.’ So I doubt any of them know Smith’s gay and the ones that do prefer him to keep it to himself and never talk about it.

    There’s probably something to the story since the Programming Director who engineered the move of Smith from Prime Time to afternoon time, and called it a promotion, hasn’t denied the story and doesn’t deny his characterization as being a big fat homophobe. I can only guess he’s very proud of that.

    Other than that, Shepherd Smith is a grown up who voluntarily works for the most homophobic network out there so he’s going to get very little sympathy for putting up with crap from them.

  • xzall

    @BJ McFrisky: Yes, it’s a demotion to go from Prime time to afternoon time as you get a lot less viewers watching your show. They did it not because they didn’t want to pay him money, but because they wanted to lessen the impact in case Smith is outed by making him less important to the network. They also would have a way of easing him out in case their Fox viewers react negatively. The salary bump and perks is a way of keeping Smith quiet.

    As I’ve noted, Bill Shine, alleged homophobe has not only not denied the story, he’s also not denied that he’s a homophobe.

  • DarkZephyr

    @BJ McFrisky: Would you be so kind as to point out to me a time when you have said something pro-gay and in support of gay rights and is unrelated to you rushing in as fast as you can to defend the conservatives that loathe us? Thanks!

  • Cam

    @Snapper59: said…. “This is just a hit piece against Fox News. When is Ronan Farrow coming out?”


    I love it when the defenders of FOX try to come in and scream and deflect the topic.

    Was Ronan Farrow demoted? Oh he wasn’t? And is this article about Shep Smith coming out? No it wasn’t.

    So nice try.

  • Cam

    @BJ McFrisky:

    And once again, BJ will say or do anything to to defend anything that is anti-gay if it comes from FOX or the GOP.

    Yes, if you are pulled from Prime Time it is a demotion.

    If they increased Jim Pasrons salary but moved “Big Bang Theory” to a Sat. Afternoon timeslot THAT would be a demotion too.

    BJ, you know it would probably save time if you just had the same cut and paste for all your comments. Something that said “I support (Insert name of whatever anti-gay right winger this post is about)”

  • BJ McFrisky

    For many years the liberal media has been attempting to bring down the Fox brand, only to have their efforts blow up in their faces as Fox continues to dominate cable ratings. Queerty is proving itself to be just another arm of the Democratic party in this effort.

    @DarkZephyr: Though you might not agree with me, I’ve never made any anti-gay statements.

    I just find it childish when a site like this or Media Matters of Huff Post tries to demean Shepard Smith simply because he might be gay. Surely an Evil Corporate Overlord like Fox is guilty of sins worse than employing a gay man, no? Or is that the most scandalous thing they could come up with?

  • Cam

    @BJ McFrisky:

    Actually BJ, you were asked a question, that not only did you evade, but you then pretended it was an excuse to once again defend anything right wing and anti-gay.

    Dark Zepher didn’t ask you about anti-gay statements. He asked you when have you ever come in to support gay rights on a post and was not about you defending somebody conservative or anti-gay.

    That was the question he asked. But then again, you have a long history of avoiding questions like that because you have no answer to them.

  • xzall

    @BJ McFrisky: No one is buying your BS. If Fox is employing a gay man and then telling him he has to hide the fact he’s gay from the public and he has to stay closeted then they’re certainly guilty of many sins and they’re the ones demeaning him.

  • Snapper59

    There is absolute zero proof anybody but Shep is keeping Shep in the closet. I suppose Roger Ailes was responsible for Anderson Cooper remaining there for years and years and years.

  • Kenover

    More importantly, is he wearing eyeliner in that photo?

  • Cam

    Shep is a closet case I give a pass to because during one of the decisions on Marriage, apparently the FOX news site was already loaded up with “WAR ON MARRIAGE” graphics, and Smith, in prime time, made a comment about being on the Right Side of History, and saying that people who were opposed to gay marriage were on the wrong side of history.

    Apparently there was a scramble at Fox to change the website. My guess is, it was things like that more than anything that added to him getting kicked off prime time. Having somebody who doesn’t hate gays was bad enough but Ailes couldn’t have somebody like that who was ALSO out of the closet on the air.

  • ingyaom

    No one watches FoxNews, so who cares. On a good night, Bill OhReally’s opinion show might get 3 million viewers (the “news “- maybe half that) which is 1% of the population, so they’re hardly having a major impact.

  • Snapper59

    @ingyaom: And yet going on decades now, you can add up the ratings of the other two news networks and double them and you still don’t match Fox News numbers. And some can’t stand this “irrelevance”.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    trisomy 21….ok 20.8

  • ingyaom

    No one watches cable news, period. That’s my point.

  • lykeitiz

    @BJ McFrisky: I have to admire your determination to set right the opinions on sites like this and Huff Post…….wait a minute…….sights like this??

    I could have sworn the last article I read was about which male celeb had the best nipples! And in case you hadn’t noticed, this article on Shep Smith is one of the ONLY cover stories where the lead subject has his shirt ON. This site does in-depth interviews with porn stars & escorts.

    This is not CNN. This is Hooters for gay guys.

  • Cam


    Well lets look at it realistically. According to right wingers, FOX is the only non-liberal network right? So if all the others are liberal, then to get a fair comparison you would have to combine all their ratings and compare it to FOX. And lastly, Fox is getting crushed in the younger demographic, that is why you don’t see as many large national sponsors, FOX doesn’t have the right audience. But you WILL see multiple ads for Rascals and erectile dysfunction pills.

  • smfguy

    Is anyone else a little skeptical of Gawker’s story…….i.e. why would Fox executives get upset because Shepard Smith brought another EMPLOYEE of the same company to the picnic? Just wondering….

  • brianmovie

    What dose demote mean for Smith…..next month he will be on CNN.

  • queenrosered

    @Snapper59: How many times were you dropped on your head as a child? If you say just once, we’ll know it’s a lie. smdh…

  • jmmartin

    @Snapper59: It’s sad people make such a big thing of this stuff.

  • coltonblack

    Shepard should take a hot selfie with his boyfriend and tweet it out. Then it will all be over with. It must be terrible working for that network.

  • thecoloradohiker

    In typical Queerty Fasionn as with lots of replies and hateful remarks to fellow ASSumably gay peeps bash without facts by ASSuming you know. Raciest Mazean yes i a white Christian male. Your bigoted point? Many intelligently commented Fox could care less. Stop creating false stories to insight division. Seems to be the trend in society in this country that says its wants to move us forward. Thanks for setback Querty.

  • misterhollywood

    Excellent story Queerty – we have linked back to you on your blog post for our piece on the larger issue of gay journalists who feel they may need to be in the closet. Click on my image to access.

    – John Hollywood

  • Cagnazzo82

    We certainly have our share of pro Fox Propaganda trolls in this thread. That much’s for certain.

  • Clark

    Of course the so-called demotion couldn’t possibly be due to his arrogant condescending attitude when reading the news. It couldn’t be because of his hostile attitude toward anyone that dares have an opinion different than his…nope, couldn’t be that -since that’s the typical style for “stories” on this site.

  • Neanderthal75

    Having noticed the strong penchant for the anti-Fox pholks to steer clear of both reality and empirical evidence, regarding Fox’s ratings for the last, oh, say 15 YEARS, I must say that the sheer effort to avoid both reality and ratings does NOT help the arguments being made by this site’s writers!

    How about everyone drop the personal invective and animus, and let’s all deal with facts and reality relating to the subject matter at hand, shall we?

    The ratings for Fox are clear and easily ascertained, but apparently not by Mr. Gallagher. His reference to Fox viewers being as old as ‘Methuselah’ didn’t make me angry, it made me laugh! The age distribution for Fox viewers is across the board, as are the political leanings of Fox viewers, with an average of about 1/3 to 40% of Fox viewers being Democrats for any given program.

    Independents watch Fox (I am a registered Independent, having been raised a Scoop Jackson Democrat), Libertarians as well, and of course, Conservatives.

    Given the overwhelmingly Left Media that exists (even the vaunted Grey Lady, the New York Times admitted it is decidedly Left) in an abundance, I find it laughable that so many people are upset at Fox’s success, and find it necessary to either skew or blatantly misrepresent Fox’s numbers.

    Hate ’em all you like, that’s your right, but how about we do away with the fabrications and half truths, shall we?

    Personally, I find Smith to be highly competent, but more than a little dictatorial in his shutting down of anyone with whom he disagrees, but that usually has happened when a subject hits ‘close to home’ for him.

    All in all, he’s better than 90% of his peers on other stations.


  • Cam

    @Neanderthal75: said…

    “The ratings for Fox are clear and easily ascertained, but apparently not by Mr. Gallagher. His reference to Fox viewers being as old as ‘Methuselah’ didn’t make me angry, it made me laugh! The age distribution for Fox viewers is across the board, as are the political leanings of Fox viewers, with an average of about 1/3 to 40% of Fox viewers being Democrats for any given program.”

    Why would you tell such an easily disproved lie? The average age of a FOX Viewer is 68, so half are older and it has lost and is losing younger voters at a much faster rate than any of it’s competitors.


  • BJ McFrisky

    @Cam: Another gay man who thinks for himself and doesn’t ascribe to the monolithic liberal group-think that seems to possess 95% of Queerty readers?
    There’s hope for us after all . . .

  • Cam

    @BJ McFrisky:

    Please point out where exactly he was correct BJ. I pointed out quite clearly that the GOP cut funding to our embassies, but of course you can never respond to facts. Just like you never respond directly to people who point out that the only thing you do here is defend anybody right wing who hates gays.

    Oh, and by the way, why would people he and you lie about what happened to the Ambassador’s body. Hmm, interesting, why would all of you try to avoid the fact that the GOP wanted Embassy Security funding cut AND lie about what happened to the Ambassadors body after? Gee, it’s almost as if the only reason you care and would lie are to somehow use those deaths for political gain. Hmmmmm

    Here is a nice GQ article that states quite clearly.

    The fire in the residence eventually died down. The attackers faded away. Libyans, maybe looters or maybe just curious men, managed to break into the safe haven, where they found Stevens. They pulled him out, carried him from the compound, loaded him into a car, raced to the hospital.


    Oooops, another Lie from BJ. Why don’t you stick to defending anybody who hates gays and let the adults deal with politics.

  • BJ McFrisky

    @Cam: Relax, Camilla. My comment was directed at Neanderthal75, not you. Sorry to have riled you up. Carry on.

  • Cam

    @BJ McFrisky:

    Actually BJ, your comment said “@Cam”

    But I know you, whenever a question or comment is posted that either you cannot answer, or points out how you always defend right wing haters of gays, you either do not respond or try to deflect.

    So not unexpected.

  • TerrenM

    @Snapper59: And yet going on decades now, you can add up the ratings of the other two news networks and double them and you still don’t match Fox News numbers. And some can’t stand this “irrelevance”. McDonalds also sells the best burgers. Doesn’t mean it has the best meat! So it is IRRELEVANT!

  • DK

    When the gay Teathuglicans aren’t defending NAMBLA, they’re defending homophobes.

    Boot-licking conservative house gays are a weird bunch indeed.

  • jmmartin

    Conservatives, including gay conservatives, are on the wrong side of history.

  • Cagnazzo82

    Every – single – one of pro Fox Propaganda posters on this thread come off unhinged.

    Every one of their posts are laced with venom and condescension.

    Even though they’re not the preferred ‘straight’ that Fox News producers would like, they certainly bear the rest of the qualities of that perpetually angry/aged demographic.

  • Neanderthal75


    Really, those of us whom think for ourselves, rather than aligning with the ‘Gay Gestapo’; those who denigrate brave Independent Thinking Gays across the country (and any straights as well), because the G.G. is as open minded about most current issues as Himmler and Goebbels were when it came to homosexuals and Jews!

    Camille Paglia has proven just how childish, petulant, and quite frankly, deranged the G.G. are when confronted with reasonable opposition!

    Just look at the invective from the anti-Fox, anti-Republican, anti-anything/anybody who opposes the popular Left agendas which DESTROY popular support amongst the general population, because of a virulent ‘in your face, I don’t care what you think’, mindset being thrust into the fray!

    No reasonable person (straight or Gay) will stand for that overly long; and that is what can be seen in poll after poll, study after study, and that vein is going to continue to grow AGAINST what you are espousing, simply because of the ‘in your face’ offensive tactics so often promoted.

  • Cam


    It’s funny when people try to twist facts in order to excuse their behavior.

    You aligning yourself with Fox and the people who hare gays is not comparable to the Jews and gays under Hitler,

    You are comparable to the few gays and Jews who collaborated. You aren’t “Brave” to be on the sides of people who hate gays, you’re just another in a long line of cowards who are begging to be allowed to be let into a club that looks down on you and doesn’t want you.

  • jmmartin

    @Neanderthal75: I am curious, why do you capitalize “gay” in the line, “No reasonable person (straight or Gay) will stand for that overly long; and that is what can be seen in poll after poll….” Was that merely a typo or do you actually believe gays should have the status of, say, African-American, Caucasian, &c.? Even the catch-all alphabet soup of lgbt (to which many of us have taken to adding the word, “queer” and some have added it as an initial, as in “lgbtq”) is seldom if ever capitalized. Seems to me you simply enhance the uselessness of “gay” as a category only. Reducing a person to a category is inherently hurtful.

  • Cagnazzo82

    @Neanderthal75: Anyone who thinks that most conservatives watching an incredulous network where accuracy and credibility comes way behind agenda is clearly not right in the head.

    Out of all the media in the world, you choose to defend one of the worst news stations when it comes to honesty and credibility.

    What does that say about you?

    I’m not interested in any ‘gay agenda’ (whatever that right-wing catchphrase means), and I can assure you I sure as hell am not interested in arguing the merits of a station with this kind of history: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7095/7302759610_6f23cf4e0f_o.jpg

    Thanks but no thanks.

  • jmmartin

    Cagnazzo82 is right on! Murdoch is the Great Beast, and Roger Ailes is the Scarlet Woman.

  • Neanderthal75

    Cag, Martin, et al,

    I see that the concept of honest debate is not in your best interests concerning this issue; so you do what you do best, attempt to prove an EXCEPTION, vague as it is, is the ‘rule’, thereby doing away with your responsibility to operate in an open minded manner.

    You’re not open minded, because you don’t want to be open minded: NOT when it comes to issues held so deeply and viscerally, that you literally cannot force yourself to confront reality and empirical evidence, OVERWHELMING empirical evidence, that the few exceptions you can provide in meager support of your severely biased position, still do not over power the ‘rule’: that is to say, that Fox News Channel provides more opposing views, from nearly every political and cultural angle possible, than ANY other network or station on air. Any.

    What you do on such a regular basis that it has become a kneejerk reaction, is to fling personal invective and vitriol hither and yon, in a venal attempt to misdirect the entire debate.

    Basically, you can’t be honest with yourselves, so you can’t be honest with anyone else about anything that ‘threatens’ your facile and ever so fragile held beliefs.

    Sad, but true.

    MSNBC doesn’t even come close to have the wide diversity of on air talent guests that Fox does; they bring half hearted shills into the meager arena which passes for ‘debate’ on their programs, and then build up strawmen to knock down, so that it will put a smile your viewer’s faces, viewers just like you Cag, Martin, et al.

    You live in a wet papermache’ domicile that is ready to fall at any moment, at the first hint that you might get honest with yourselves and the subject matter at hand.

    This is why Martin engages in such inane meanderings concerning the implied meanings of ‘upper case’ vs ‘lower case’, positing fevered politically correct and bankrupt misconceptions as ‘proof’ of my complicity in one of his sadly imagined conspiracies about ‘right wing’ this or that group/idea/policy.

    The seriously vacuous ‘reasoning’ of such venal arguments does not ‘bring us forward’ in any constructive manner; but constructive engagement is not part and parcel of what Cag and Martin desire: that would take too much inward looking consideration, too much of a move in the direction of actually being open minded, instead of just mumbling the words inanely.

    It would take you fine gentlemen in the direction of getting honest with yourselves, about what you believe and why you believe it, and that utterly terrifies you.


  • Cam


    A large amount of words that all avoid the simple fact that you defend people and organizations that are anti-gay.

    You’re like a woman defending the Saudi Clerics. How sad and embarrassing for you.

  • Neanderthal75


    The ‘sad and embarrassing’ FACT is that you simply cannot refute my specific points; not logically, not empirically, and not honestly.

    The only thing you do, because you don’t have the intestinal fortitude to address these issues honestly and open mindedly, is to make personal attacks, avoiding the issue at all costs.

    Your tactics are those of the very Saudi Clerics you cite.

    You those who think as do you, scream about the supposed attacks on gay journalists, who gets what part in some play/movie/sitcom, and of course, the anti-gay marriage positions and platforms from the Right, and then you get together for demonstration after demonstration, have all sorts of parades, seminars, round tables, media conferences, etc., attacking those against whom you are oppossed.

    However, I’ve not seen a single mass demonstration about the SERIAL EXECUTIONS of gay men and women in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, etc., by the gay groups and organizations who you support, who think as do you, who raise MILLIONS of DOLLARS for Wall Street slick mass media adds, in magazines, billboards, public services clips, etc.

    MILLIONS more are spent on pro-gay movies, tv sitcoms (you can’t seem to find a serial on television these days that doesn’t have pro-gay story lines, gay characters), but NARY a movie, big screen or small screen, about what Islam and ‘good and faithful’ Muslims are doing to gays all around the world in Muslim countries.

    Basically, the HYPOCRISY of you and those holding your viewpoint is rather disgusting.

    But I’ll tell you a secret, the tide is beginning to turn AWAY from you Left fanatics, and TOWARD rational and realistic Independents who have had ENOUGH of the two faced hypocrisy and enough of the looking the other way, while so much blood is spilled.

    During it all, you and yours can only whine about the ‘danger’ of those opposing gay marriage, and not enough gay journalists/actors/singers/whomever, in the spotlight of the public eye!


  • Cam


    Actually your points were irrelevant. Your point jumps around from first trying to vaguely defend FOX and anti-gay bigots, and then trying to deflect the conversation onto how anti-gay Islam is.

    Well let me put it this way. If I lived in Iran I would be extremely concerned with how anti-gay Islam is, because it would be what was dangerous to me. Here in the U.S. a network run by anti-gay folks like FOX, and the Mormon Church are huge motivators, and yet here you are defending them. So basically you are the guy who in Iran would be defending the anti-gay clerics.

    You rant and rage about the left and liberals, but the facts are the facts. You support anti-gay bigotry and no shielding your true meaning within several paragraphs will change that. You aren’t different, or unique, you are just the sad ending to years and years of bigotry. A self hating gay thinking that if you support the people who hate you it makes you a “Good Gay”. You’re just sad.

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