Bill Shine, the former Fox News co-president forced out of the job over his handling of sexual harassment claims at the network, has been named President Donald Trump’s deputy chief of staff for communications, the White House announced Thursday.
The news comes after reports began circulating in late June that Trump had offered Shine the job of communications director, which has remained vacant since Hope Hicks announced her departure in February.
Shine’s appointment marks an even closer connection between Trump and his favorite cable news network. The president frequently praises Fox News and promotes it on Twitter, and Fox News hosts provide him with favorable coverage and fawning interviews.
Trump also uses talking points and policy ideas from Fox News segments, and some of the hosts, particularly Sean Hannity, are known to have given him advice.
Shine resigned from Fox News in May 2017 after he was accused in several lawsuits of covering up or downplaying allegations of workplace sexual harassment and racial discrimination. His resignation came two weeks after the network’s top-rated host Bill O’Reilly was ousted from Fox News following revelations that he and the network had paid out $13 million to settle complaints against him from five female co-workers.
White House officials expect blowback for hiring someone linked to Fox News’ harassment culture but “believe they can weather it,” The New York Times reported after speaking to two sources familiar with Shine’s appointment.
Reports about the scandals at Fox News indicate Shine was instrumental in keeping harassment complaints under wraps, rallying employees to speak out against accusers and pushing women into confidential mediation.
Throughout his tenure at Fox News, he caught little flak for his own comments but has at times stepped in to downplay controversies stirred up by the network’s more hot-headed personalities, including O’Reilly and Glenn Beck.
Marina Fang contributed reporting.