By Peter Gleason
Jamie Horowitz, the president of Fox Sports national networks who was picked to lead the network after a stint at NBC and ESPN, is “leaving FOX Sports effective immediately,” according to an internal email from Fox Sports president Eric Shanks.
Horowitz’s ouster comes less than a week after 21st Century Fox began investigating allegations of sexual harassment at Fox Sports, according to the LA Times. According to the report, several women — including on-air personalities — already had been interviewed.
In his email, which was obtained by Sports Business Journal, Shanks wrote: “Everyone at FOX Sports, no matter what role we play, or what business, function or show we contribute to — should act with respect and adhere to professional conduct at all times. These values are non-negotiable.”
Horowitz, who had been with the network since early 2015, is not going quietly. He hired powerful litigator Patricia Glaser — who handled Conan O’Brien’s NBC exit and Keith Olbermann’s fight with Current TV — to represent him, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“The way Jamie has been treated by Fox is appalling,” Glaser said in a statement to the magazine. “At no point in his tenure was there any mention by his superiors or human resources of any misconduct or an inability to adhere to professional conduct. Jamie was hired by Fox to do a job, a job that until today he has performed an [sic] exemplary fashion. Any slanderous accusations to the contrary will be vigorously defended.”
Shanks said he would absorb Horowitz’s responsibilities until Fox Sports finds a replacement.
Horowitz is both hailed and ridiculed for ushering in an era of argument as entertainment, bringing with him to Fox Sports personalities such as Skip Bayless and Jason Whitlock. Recently, he had made waves by deciding to use these polarizing faces for hot-take, video content on the Fox Sports site, in the process laying off the digital team that wrote more news-based stories.
Before landing at Fox Sports, Horowitz was fired as senior vice president of NBC morning show “Today” in November 2014.