Brenda Smalter says she breathes a sigh of relief every day because she managed to avoid the attention of Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and the other men at Fox News who were accused of treating women like sex objects.
“How despicable is that kind of behavior?” says Smalter, who worked as an assistant producer at the network for seven years before she left for another network. “Other women would walk into meetings or onto the set and one of the guys would look at them or make some comment about their physical appearance or something and I’m just so relieved I avoided all that.”
Smalter, 41, said she would wear short skirts or flirty blouses but none of the men ever made comments to her or tried to get her into bed. “I just don’t know why I was so lucky to have avoided all that,” she says. “There was even that night Bill and I were alone, working late, and I kept saying I could really go for a stiff drink at a bar or maybe just lay down on the couch in his private office but I was so fortunate he kept saying we didn’t have time.”
Smalter originally applied for on-camera work as a reporter but was given the behind-the-scenes role instead. She says doesn’t understand why other women would get harassed but she never did. “Roger used to make it so obvious when he was attracted to a woman,” she says, referring to Roger Ailes, the creator of the network who was ousted last year after allegations surfaced that he had harassed several women at the network. “He could never hide it. Like one time, he and I were meeting with Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly (former Fox hosts) and his eyes kept darting to their legs and stuff. I thought he was going to lunge at one of them right then and there. I’m just so, so happy that he never looked at me that way. Even that time I asked if he could fix the zipper on the back of my mini skirt. It got snagged on my thong but he said I should ask Heather, the script assistant, to fix it.”
Smalter says Ailes was the worst when it came to predatory behavior. “A woman could hardly walk through the studio without him ordering her into his office for a private meeting,” she said. “Of course, they weren’t meetings at all. He just wanted a chance to offer them a better job or more money for you-know-what. It was so disgusting.”
When asked what Ailes’ office looked like, Smalter said she’s curious to know that herself.
Smalter was even in the room when O’Reilly allegedly called one of his staff assistants a “steaming cup of vanilla latte,” a term she’s glad he never applied to her. “I thought he was going to call me something like that when I wore a skin-tight dress and high heels to a meeting, but he barely looked up from his phone even though the dress was so tight I couldn’t wear anything underneath it,” she said. “Instead, he just asked me if I would mind getting him a cup of coffee if I were going to Starbucks any time soon. I thought, ‘What a sexist thing to ask!’ but, then, he always offered to get me something when he went to Starbucks, so I couldn’t really complain.
“No, I guess I should just count my lucky stars that, no matter how many buttons on my blouse I left undone, or how high my skirt rode up my thigh, all the men at Fox News just left me alone and kept our meetings focused on the business at hand. I am just so, so lucky; I am just so, so happy.”
This is a work of satire. It is a fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos: usaf, who, mg, tnn, jh. Creative Commons and public domain. Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
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