Fox News paid $4 million to cover up sexual harassment allegations against Kim Guilfoyle: report

A woman assistant claims Guilfoyle demanded thigh massages and exposed herself—and the network tried to cover it up

Published October 2, 2020 10:37PM (EDT)

Kimberly Guilfoyle speaks during the first day of the Republican convention at the Mellon auditorium on August 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. (OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
Kimberly Guilfoyle speaks during the first day of the Republican convention at the Mellon auditorium on August 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. (OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Kim Guilfoyle, the Trump campaign finance chair and romantic partner of the president's eldest son, was allegedly terminated from her previous job at Fox News in 2018 after her former assistant accused her of sexual harassment. Moreover, Guilfoyle and her network employer allegedly took significant steps to silence the accuser, according to a new report.

In 2018, the year in which Guilfoyle departed Fox News, her former assistant reportedly alleged in a 42-page draft complaint that the outgoing network host had "subjected her frequently to degrading, abusive and sexually inappropriate behavior." 

Fox News reportedly hired the accuser, a woman, out of college in 2015 to work as an assistant for Guilfoyle and Eric Bolling, another former Fox News host who was fired amid allegations of sexual harassment. The New Yorker's Jane Mayer broke the story on Thursday, as told to her by "a dozen well-informed sources familiar with" the complaints.

The draft complaint alleged that Guilfoyle often spoke in inappropriate detail about her sex life and shared photographs of the genitalia of her sexual partners, according to Mayer's sources. The document also reportedly alleged that Guilfoyle once demanded a thigh massage, as well as exposed herself and asked her former assistant to critique her naked body.

The draft complaint also alleged that Guilfoyle required her former assistant to spend nights at her apartment, plus share rooms on business trips. The former Fox News host urged her former assistant to have sex with powerful men and once told her to "submit to a Fox employee's demands for sexual favors," the draft complaint reportedly alleged. 

Sources told The New Yorker that Guilfoyle had tried to buy the assistant's silence, allegedly offering to pay her if she lied to lawyers involved in investigations of impropriety at the network. Guilfoyle also allegedly inveigled her with a private-plane trip to Rome, a cut of future speaking fees and a chance to report for the network. The assistant reportedly claimed that Guilfoyle had personally mentioned $1 million, and "two well-informed sources" told the New Yorker that Fox News had agreed to pay the woman more than $4 million in order to head off a trial.

When the woman rejected Guilfoyle's offers, the former Fox News host allegedly implied in a "threatening" manner that she could blackmail the assistant, according to the report.

Though Guilfoyle declined the New Yorker's interview request, she offered a statement. 

"In my 30-year career working for the SF District Attorney's Office, the LA District Attorney's Office, in media and in politics, I have never engaged in any workplace misconduct of any kind," she told the outlet. "During my career, I have served as a mentor to countless women, with many of whom I remain exceptionally close to this day."

A Fox News spokesperson declined to comment about this article. The Trump campaign referred Salon's request for comment to Guilfoyle's attorney, who did not reply to Salon's request for comment.

President Donald Trump, whose 2016 campaign survived his comments about committing sexual assault in a leaked 2004 "Access Hollywood" video, currently lags Democratic rival Joe Biden by 30% points among women, a demographic which helped propel Trump's 2016 victory. The president earlier in the year named Guilfoyle, the significant other of his eldest son, Donald Jr., as head of campaign finance, and she spoke on the opening night of the Republican National Convention.

The Trump campaign, as of earlier this year, paid Guilfoyle's reported $15,000 monthly salary as a chief fundraiser through a consulting company owned by former campaign manager Brad Parscale, according to multiple sources and reports. Per reports, Guilfoyle's operation was allegedly a fiasco plagued by profligacy and top staff departures.

Guilfoyle claimed she left Fox News for politics voluntarily, but it was widely reported that the network fired her in July 2018, at which time she co-hosted "The Five."

Fox News is a network plagued by a long history of allegations of sexual assault, harassment and misconduct. In 2017, The New York Times revealed that Fox News had settled with at least half a dozen women who accused star host Bill O'Reilly of sexual misconduct, in allegations which dated back to 2002. Over the years, the women reportedly received hush money payouts from the network or O'Reilly totaling $13 million — about half of the $25 million Fox News paid their abuser a few weeks before his departure.

In 2017, former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson filed an earth-shattering sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News chief Roger Ailes, who is now dead, catalyzing the decades-old #MeToo movement and heralding the arrival of a long-overdue reckoning for the network.

This summer, Fox News personalities Ed Henry, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson were named in a sweeping sexual misconduct lawsuit, which two women filed against the network in a New York federal court.

Fox News denies the allegations against Hannity and Carlson. Henry, who was accused of rape, was fired.

By Roger Sollenberger

Roger Sollenberger was a staff writer at Salon (2020-21). Follow him on Twitter @SollenbergerRC.

MORE FROM Roger Sollenberger

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Donald Trump Donald Trump Jr. Ed Henry Fox News Kim Guilfoyle #metoo Politics Sean Hannity Tucker Carlson Tv