11:20am PT by Lacey Rose
Fox Sports 1 Hosts on Jamie Horowitz Firing, Corporate Culture
A Fox Sports 1 panel designed to promote First Things First turned briefly political Wednesday morning.
A month after the ouster of Fox Sports 1 programming chief Jamie Horowitz amid a sexual harassment probe — which followed a series of other high-profile firings at cable cousin Fox News, including late head Roger Ailes and longtime host Bill O'Reilly — FS1 personalities Cris Carter, Nick Wright and Joy Taylor were asked to comment on the corporate culture at 21st Century Fox. All three were emphatic in their support of their employer during their otherwise sports-focused half-hour before the Television Critics Association.
Carter took the mic first. "I'm not familiar with what goes on at the other Fox, but as far as Los Angeles and under the leadership of Eric Shanks, I haven't seen that," he said, adding: "I was totally shocked by it and that's as far as I'm going to conversate about it. I'm not at liberty to discuss [the Horowitz firing]. There are other things going on that I'm not privy to."
Taylor fielded the question next, looking down at her feet the entire time. "The culture and the environment at Fox Sports 1 has always been professional, and an overall great experience. It's a great place to work," she said. "That isolated situation aside, I think that everyone who works there enjoys working there. It's run well by professionals who care about what they're doing and come to work every day wanting to enjoy not only the people they work around but what they do."
Speaking last but with the most passion was Wright. "People may see me on TV and think I'm a jerk, but it's important to me that people who know me and my character think I'm a good guy, and … if I felt that there was any type of hostile work place for people who aren't me … who are women, people of color … it [would be] incumbent upon me as a man and as a person to raise that issue and use whatever power I have to help the people affected or put a stop to it," he said. "If there was a bad culture at FS1 that I had seen in any capacity, I wouldn't be here."
In early July, Horowitz was abruptly dismissed after two highly active years at the helm. In that time, he had recruited an impressive, noisy stable of talent, including Wright and Carter. Specifics about the event or events that led to Horowitz's ouster have been kept under wraps. What is clear is that 21st Century Fox execs, who have had to pay out at least $85 million in settlements, are now acting swiftly and brazenly when it comes to such issues. Horowitz has since hired fiery L.A. litigator Patty Glaser.