Exclusive: After this blog published complaints from employees of Fox News about the spraying of an insecticide at the network’s headquarters, Roger Ailes addressed the issue in the newsroom on Tuesday afternoon. Fox News has provided the text of his comments, and they have been reprinted in full:
|Apparently there’s folks out there saying Fox News management is keeping people in the dark about insecticide incidences, tipsters allege. Tipsters — plural, incidences — plural. So, I’ll tell you what I know and then I’ll take a few questions.|
A couple of months ago, we had a report, and I’ve got some HR people who may know more than I do here about what happened, but a couple of months ago we got a report about bugs in the tech lounge. And that night a maintenance guy went down and sprayed along the edges of the walls and we had one of the technicians a few days later said that they had gone out and sought medical attention for this. This person is fine and now back to work and that is the only complaint we received. We also had management from the news room level call upstairs to report this. We then tore up the carpeting in there and scrubbed it down. That was the only complaint, the only official complaint we’ve had.
So when we read about all these various complaints saying how should we handle this and we said, if there are any complaints bring them upstairs and report them immediately and we will investigate and do whatever is necessary to rectify the situation. This Internet report even went so far as to say that one of our producers had a baby with Down’s Syndrome. That is simply not true. We had a woman who was concerned about an amnio, and it turned out the baby was born fine, very healthy. We’ve had no other complaints. There was some complaint that somebody called to file with OSHA — we didn’t hear about that. Finally, we track it down, turns out OSHA sent it to Channel 5 across town. Turns out OHSA did not demand an explanation, but simply asked us to look into this as I recall and we have looked into it very thoroughly for the last two months. The purpose of this is to make sure that everybody understands that the rules here are if there is a problem, take it to your supervisor. Obviously, if that doesn’t work, take it to HR, and we will investigate aggressively any concerns. Hundreds of people have been in and out of these rooms since then, we have had no other concerns and no other complaints and somebody seems to be gunning to create some problems for the Fox News Channel from inside the Fox News Channel. We don’t know who or why yet, but obviously HR is here to help you and protect you, and if there’s any concerns, please see them and we will get an immediate investigation underway. If medical attention is needed, we will get it right away. That’s really it…Did I leave anything out? Any questions?
The concern I have with this kind of stuff, and I know this young fellow that’s doing this website here I guess wants to be a journalist, but one of the problems is with just taking a single source and saying it’s ‘multiple sources,’ or taking multiple sources and saying rumor, is that if it were a terrorist attack, I would not go here to get the facts because the information is entirely unreliable. Whoever is doing this is damaging you folks and the reason why I’m concerned about it is it is not fair to you. We have processes here in place to protect everyone and we have aggressively pursued this incident that occurred two months ago and have continued to pursue it. We have called in environmental specialists, we’ve looked at this, we’ve looked at every incident, so what is being said about Fox News management is simply not true. Writing this stuff up with a bunch of anonymous sources is irresponsible — anyone can do it, but it’s not journalism.
The one person who thought they had a problem with the spray did come forward by name, we dealt with it, they dealt with it, but the rest of this stuff is rumor, unsourced, frankly meant to damage us. Please, if you have complaints management will not cover it up — we investigate it, and we will tell you the truth. Any questions?
Everybody comfortable that if they have a problem, they know how to handle it? I don’t want to leave any doubt here. I want you to tell us if there’s a concern. Your health and well-being is something I care deeply about and I resent this kind of anonymous crap and the spreading of it because it’s a poor attempt damages a fine news organization. If there are health issues, let us deal with them. By the way, this substance that was used I’m told was purchased over-the-counter, it is not poison, it was recently suspended for commercial use except by experts. One of the maintenance people did the spraying, which was a mistake. It is an ingredient that is an over-the-counter product and you should know that, so you don’t think you’re walking through fumes. And if anybody has any doubt, call me — I will go sit in that room for a few hours for you. That’s it. We’ve got the truth out there. Let’s stick with that. If anybody has any concerns, see HR and we will answer any questions. Carry on — you’ve got big jobs to do. By the way, we’re doing great.