Fox News anchor Shepard Smith resigned from the network after clashing with colleagues.
Smith announced his departure on Friday.
“Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News and begin a new chapter. After requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged. The opportunities afforded this guy from small town Mississippi have been many,” he said. “It’s been an honor and a privilege to report the news each day to our loyal audience in context and with perspective, without fear or favor. I’ve worked with the most talented, dedicated and focused professionals I know and I’m proud to have anchored their work each day—I will deeply miss them.”
After speculation that Smith was forced out, spokesman Chris Giglio told Vanity Fair “this was Shep’s decision and his alone.”
“He’s taking an extended period of time off to be with his family, he said. “Following that who knows — he is not retiring.”
Smith signed a non-compete clause when he renewed his contract in 2018, which means he won’t be able to work for another network until the contract expires.
“I won’t be reporting elsewhere, at least in the near future,” Smith said on the air.
Smith clashed with primetime hosts:
A Fox News insider told The Daily Beast that Smith’s resignation came because he was “sick of being attacked by his primetime colleagues and asked for a way out of his contract.”
According to the report, Fox News officials tried to get Smith to stay but ultimately decided that “lucrative evening ratings outweighed the need to keep Smith happy while paying him $15 million a year for his daytime role that did not bring in as many viewers.”
Earlier this month, Smith clashed with host Tucker Carlson, lashing out at the primetime host after a guest called colleague Andrew Napolitano, a legal analyst who appeared on Smith’s program, a “fool.” Vanity Fair reported after the incident that Fox News brass warned Smith to stop attacking Carlson.
Last year, Smith complained to Time Magazine about the primetime host’s unabashed pro-Trump bias.
“Some of our opinion programming is there strictly to be entertaining,” he said. “They don't really have rules on the opinion side. They can say whatever they want.”
Trump mocks Smith, turns focus to Chris Wallace:
Smith was a rare straight news man at a network filled with Trump sycophants, frequently drawing the president’s ire. Trump mocked Smith on the way out before turning his attention to one of the few other newsmen left at the network.
“Is he leaving due to bad ratings, or some other less important reason?” Trump wrote.
He later went after Fox News host Chris Wallace, the son of longtime “60 Minutes” journalist Mike Wallace.
“Somebody please explain to Chris Wallace of Fox, who will never be his father (and my friend), Mike Wallace, that the Phone Conversation I had with the President of Ukraine was a congenial & good one. It was only Schiff’s made up version of that conversation that was bad!” he falsely claimed.
The New York Times reported that Wallace said at an event last month that Trump “often likes to say about me, ‘You know, I was covered by Mike Wallace, I liked him much more.’”
“One of us has a daddy problem, and it’s not me,” Wallace quipped.