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Jason Rantz

Did FOX News force Shep Smith to stay in closet?

According to a report by Gawker.com, those evil executives at conservative FOX News stopped Shep Smith from coming out of the closet as gay. According to the article:

A few weeks before approaching Ailes about coming out, Smith surprised Fox staffers by bringing his boyfriend, a 26-year-old Fox producer named Gio Graziano, to a company picnic at Ailes's compound in Garrison, New York. Held annually on Independence Day weekend, the picnic is a small gathering—only executives, on-air talent, and their frontline producers are invited—so Smith likely felt comfortable bringing along his steady partner.

Despite the intimate venue, the new couple put several Fox executives on high alert. According to multiple sources with knowledge of the picnic, the most dramatic reaction came from Bill Shine, the channel's Executive Vice President of Programming. Shine "flipped out," one source said, after* Smith introduced Graziano to attendees. (Within and outside of Fox, Shine, who is 50 and grew up on Long Island, carries a reputation for insensitivity toward gay people. "He's a major, major homophobe," a Fox insider said.)

Back in New York City, Shine called a meeting among high-level executives to discuss a plan of action regarding Smith. "His fear was that Shep's audience would implode," said an individual familiar with the meeting, during which Shine forcefully argued against Smith coming out. His argument was simple: Our audience is not ready for a gay anchor. So why'd Gawker.com do this? I think it has to do with them wanting to forward this bogus notion that conservatives and FOX News hate gay people. That's obviously not the case, but don't let that stop ideological bigots like Gawker.com staffers from stopping them from spreading the narrative that they hope helps Democrats stay in power come election time.

The Jason Rantz Show on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

Listen to Jason Rantz every weekday at 7pm on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. Seattle's News, Seattle's Talk.

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