Rumors that Sean Hannity’s days at Fox News were numbered have been swirling around since head of programming Bill Shine was forced out. Before his ouster, Hannity expressed his strong support for Shine, whom he defended as an “innocent man” that was being unfairly connected to the sexual harassment allegations of former Fox big names Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes.
The rumors, however, may be overblown, or at least that’s what an inside source told Politico, after Hannity took the “unusual” step of calling a staff-wide meeting Tuesday afternoon to address the issue.
According to one of the people who attended the meeting, Hannity told his staff that he is not negotiating an exit plan with his long-time employer, adding, “And don’t believe the destroy-Trump media.”
Speculation that Hannity was likely going to step away from Fox News Channel after Shine’s resignation were partly fueled by what sources say is a “key man clause” in his contract connected to Ailes, who resigned in July 2016 amid allegations of sexual harassment. Politico reports that the clause allows him to leave the company after giving a 60 days notice. Hannity’s current contract runs through 2020.
The massive shake-up at Fox over the last year has resulted in an almost complete change in key anchor roles, as well as some major changes up top. Over the course of a year, Fox has shed Ailes, Megyn Kelly, Greta Van Susteren, O’Reilly, and, most recently, Shine. The only major name remaining in the nightly line up is Hannity.
Most reports indicate that the driving force behind the seismic shifts are Rupert Murdochs’ sons, who are playing increasingly prominent roles at 21st Century Fox. Murdochs’ sons have been described by insiders as far more liberal than their father; their ultimate vision for the company, many fear, will follow their personal ideology.
The rumors about Hannity’s potential departure really kicked into high-gear when he tweeted in defense of Shine that if he were to be forced out, it would be “the total end of the FNC as we know it.” Hannity also alleged that someone “HIGH UP AND INSIDE FNC” was trying to get Shine fired:
Meanwhile, reports are circulated that a more conservative alternative to Fox News is in the works, with O’Reilly, Ailes, and Hannity named among those potentially being tapped for the new network.
More from The Daily Wire on Hannity, Shine, and O’Reilly: