Roger Ailes Slams Gawker as Fox News Mole Reveals Himself, is Fired (Video)
UPDATED: The network found and suspended the rogue employee who had filed anonymous posts at Gawker that ripped the organization, while FNC chief Roger Ailes discredits the site in a conversation with THR.
Fox News has found and fired the Mole that had just Tuesday premiered a column on the news and gossip website Gawker, that was aimed at divulging insider information and ripping what he considered the network's unethical practices.
In what became an all-day, back-and-forth saga, the network said on Wednesday afternoon that they had identified the employee, who then responded on Gawker by discrediting those claims, taunting, "I'm still here." Later on, the Mole revealed himself to be an eight-year employee of the network named Joe Muto, who had been working for Bill O'Reilly. Fox had suspended him -- with pay -- after tracking down his identity using his digital username trail, he said.
"I am a weasel, a traitor, a sell-out and every bad word you can throw at me... but as of today, I am free, and I am ready to tell my story, which I wasn't able to fully do for the previous 36 hours," Muto wrote. "Stay tuned for much, much more tomorrow."
Ultimately, Fox News issued a statement to Mediaite, saying, "Joe Muto is fired effective April 12. Once the network determined that Mr. Muto was the main culprit in less than 24 hours, he was suspended late today while we pursued concurrent avenues. We are continuing to explore legal recourse against Mr. Muto and possibly others."
At THR's 35 Most Powerful People in Media event in New York City on Wednesday, FNC chief Roger Ailes had choice words for Gawker, which has long been a critic of his channel.
"What is Gawker? Is that that pornographic website?" he asked. "I don't care if they have a mole because we're not doing anything wrong, so it doesn't matter... they hate me because I make money and I do it legitimately and they don't like my politics, and that's America."
Gawker Media founder Nick Denton did not respond to a request for comment. THR can confirm, however, that there's a black-and-white photo of Ailes hanging up in Gawker's offices alongside images of other famous faces in journalism. (Ailes was not amused.)
Ailes also sounded off on the recent firing of anchor-provocateur Keith Olbermann from Current TV, saying he might have a tough time getting hired after a series of messy exits from ex-employers.
"You'd have to find somebody as crazy as he is, I'm afraid," said Ailes. "Talking about burning bridges. This guy really burns 'em. I feel sorry for anybody who's out of work, so I don't want to trash him or say anything negative about him. He was great at sports, I thought."
He added: "Keith will find a job again, but it'll be a pet show in St. Louis, or something."