In an interview on CNN Thursday, Jake Tapper interviewed former Alaska governor Sarah Palin about the “upheaval” at Fox News over sexual harassment allegations, and the interaction has raised some eyebrows.
“I have to ask you a question and it’s kind of sensitive,” Tapper said, “but you are in a unique role being a strong woman who worked at Fox News channel as a contributor. Uhm, and I normally don’t cover a lot of media stories, but obviously the upheaval going on there with the CEO and its biggest star ousted because of sexual harassment, not just an issue at Fox News channel, but an issue across the country. And it seems to be, with what happened with Bill O’Reilly, really a change in corporate culture in terms of what is tolerated. What do you make of it?”
“Well, I think the key there is, you said I used to be with Fox,” Palin responded. “I used to be with Fox. Corporate culture there obviously has to change, y’know, women don’t deserve, they should not ever have to put up with any kind of intimidating work space.
“At the same time if a woman believes that she is being intimidated and harassed,” she continued, “she needs to stand up and do something about it and not stick around for a paycheck for years and years and years. And then after the fact complain about what she went through. As a strong woman, I say we should be feel more empowered than that. And we should take a stand and get out of the place, or blow the whistle on whoever is the perpetrator doing the bad stuff so that the culture will change.”
“So yeah, obviously things are changing quickly at Fox News,” Palin said. “There are some great great people who are there, though. And I appreciate what Fox News does, as CNN, you know, adding to the discourse and to the debate, which is a healthy thing for the society. You know, more power to the good things that Fox News is doing.”
“But yep, culture had to change there,” Palin concluded.
“Did you ever witness or experience, God forbid, anything like that at Fox?” Tapper asked her.
“I wouldn’t put up with anything that would be perceived as intimidating or harassing,” Palin replied.
“But you said your ‘former,’ so was that part of the reason you left?” Tapper pressed.
“Uhm,” she paused, “you can ask them why I’m no longer with Fox, uhm, y’know I’m not gonna speak for them. My contract wasn’t renewed, that’s um, that’s the line.”
“I don’t want to be a jerk,” Tapper continued, “but it sounds like you experienced something.”
“I just, y’know it was just time to part ways and, and, y’know, get out of there, in a, I guess, a more diverse arena to express views and to speak for the public, and that’s what I’ve been able to do now.”
“Alright, well I’m not going to push any further,” Tapper concluded.
Bill O’Reilly was let go from Fox News after a string of sexual harassment charges and revelations about settlements in past charges. It’s being reported that he is exiting with tens of millions of dollars from Fox News.
CNN political analyst Kirsten Powers related her experiences at Fox News on CNN Wednesday, although some have questioned why she didn’t speak up earlier, and seemed to have denied such claims against O’Reilly prior to the current imbroglio.