The Emmy Awards are under fire for including former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, who resigned last year amid numerous sexual harassment allegations, in this year’s In Memoriam segment.
Ailes, who was accused of sexual harassment by more than 20 women (claims he denied), died in May at age 77 and was featured in the Emmys In Memoriam alongside such television legends as Adam West, Don Rickles, Debbie Reynolds, Jerry Lewis, Florence Henderson, and much more.
But many viewers questioned the choice to include Ailes among the group of late stars remembered — especially over such deceased members of the Hollywood community like Dick Gregory, Charlie Murphy, Erin Moran, and Harry Dean Stanton and Frank Vincent, both of whom died last week.
“Beyond shocked Emmy’s would honor Ailes in memoriam. What message does it send to women (and men)?” wrote Gabriel Sherman, a journalist for Vanity Fair who has extensively covered Ailes and Fox News in the past (and wrote a book on the controversial chairman in 2014).
Ailes’ appearance came as the Emmy Awards weathered another in-show controversy: an appearance by ousted White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, which was played for laughs by host Stephen Colbert (and drew comparisons to Jimmy Fallon’s infamous Donald Trump hair tussle). “Memorializing Roger Ailes and lionizing Sean Spicer — who stands against the 1st Amendment and our craft — the Emmys lost all credibility,” wrote Keith Olbermann.
See more responses to the Ailes remembrance below:
Ailes was one of the founders of Fox News and played a key role in turning the channel into the influential (and controversial) network it is today. Said 21st Century Fox and Fox News executive chairman Rupert Murdoch upon Ailes’ death in May: “A brilliant broadcaster, Roger played a huge role in shaping America’s media over the last 30 years. He will be remembered by the many people on both sides of the camera that he discovered, nurtured and promoted. Roger and I shared a big idea which he executed in a way no one else could have. In addition, Roger was a great patriot who never ceased fighting for his beliefs. At 21st Century Fox we will always be enormously grateful for the great business he built.”