Fox News Channel’s chief anchor, Shepard Smith, announced on air Friday that he would be resigning from his post after 23 years with the network.
“This is my last newscast here,” said Smith. “Recently, I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News. After requesting that I stay, they obliged.” He added that, due to his exit agreement, “I won’t be reporting elsewhere at least in the near future.”
Full video: Shepard Smith's final sign off from Fox News pic.twitter.com/5fgyM81Gbj
— Jon Passantino (@passantino) October 11, 2019
Journalists and staffers at the network were said to be shocked by the exit.
“It feels like death in the news division,” said a senior Fox employee cited by CNN. The employee said some staffers were crying at the announcement.
“I’m a little stunned and a little heartbroken,” said anchor Neil Cavuto at the beginning of his show, which followed directly after Smith’s. Fox News chief White House correspondent John Roberts compared hearing news of Smith’s departure to getting “hit by a subway train.”
The resignation comes weeks after Smith and Tucker Carlson feuded on their respective programs over the merits of Judge Andrew Napolitano’s call for President Trump’s resignation. A guest on Carlson called Napolitano a “fool” for suggesting Trump’s dealings with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky warranted impeachment and Smith responded by calling the guest “repugnant.”
Smith also traded insults with pro-Trump opinion hosts Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity last year. Ingraham called Smith “inconsiderate” and Hannity labeled him “clueless” after he made disparaging comments about the network’s opinion programming.
Trump, who routinely denigrated Smith’s talent as a broadcaster, has recently taken to criticizing Fox News generally, particularly for recent polls indicating waning support. He has also begun to suggest that the unabashedly pro-Trump One America News Network might serve as a suitable replacement news outlet for his supporters to rely on.