Hours after Fox News host Eric Bolling was suspended Saturday for allegedly sending lewd texts, a frequent guest accused him of sexual harassment, saying his behavior has been “wildly inappropriate” for years but was tolerated by network executives.
Occidental College associate professor Caroline Heldman, who previously has levied sexual harassment accusations against former Fox host Bill O’Reilly and executive Woody Fraser, said in a late Saturday Facebook post that Mr. Bolling made sexually charged references to her on the air.
“Bolling referred to me as ‘Dr. McHottie’ on air on four different occasions, and called me ‘smart, beautiful, and wrong’ on air twice,” she said in the post. “I pushed back with ‘Mr. McSexist,’ but I shouldn’t have had to. This on-air behavior was perfectly acceptable to Fox executives at the time.”
Fox confirmed Saturday that Mr. Bolling had been suspended “pending the results of an investigation, which is currently underway,” a day after HuffPost reported that he had sent an unsolicited photo of male genitalia to three female colleagues.
Mr. Bolling’s attorney Michael J. Bowe denied the allegations Saturday in statements to multiple media outlets.
“The anonymous, uncorroborated claims are untrue and terribly unfair,” Mr. Bowe told CNNMoney. “We intend to fully cooperate with the investigation so that it can be concluded and Eric can return to work as quickly as possible.”
A liberal commentator who made hundreds of appearances on Fox and Fox Business from 2008-11, Ms. Heldman referred to “multiple experiences with Bolling that caused grave concern to my friends and family.”
She said he called her and sent texts after some of her appearances to apologize for his behavior or talk; asked her to fly to New York for “in-studio hits and to have ‘fun,’” and tried several times unsuccessfully to convince her to have meals with him.
“Once, he took me up to his office in New York, showed me his baseball jerseys, and in the brief time I was there, let me know that his office was his favorite place to have sex,” Ms. Heldman said. “I know other women have had similar experiences with Bolling, which means that lots of folks at Fox knew about his behavior well before 2017.”
Ms. Heldman also raised her previous accusations against Mr. O’Reilly, who left the network earlier this year after reportedly settling multiple sexual- harassment lawsuits, which she initially made in an April interview with People.
Mr. O’Reilly said in April his position made him “vulnerable to lawsuits from people who want me to pay,” and that he “put to rest any controversies to spare my children.”
In addition, Ms. Heldman said that former Fox executive Woody Fraser “dangled a contributorship and a hosting position for a sexual relationship,” then stopped calling her for appearances when she rebuffed his advances.
Her allegations against Mr. Fraser appeared in a Thursday report in Mother Jones, which cited her May 31 court declaration.
Through his attorney, Mr. Fraser told Mother Jones that, “I was disappointed to hear about these allegations as I considered myself a mentor and friend to Ms. Heldman. I continue to wish her nothing but the best.”
A former commodities trader turned conservative pundit, Mr. Bolling serves as a co-host of “The Specialists,” launched in May, and host of the Fox Business program “Cashin’ In.” A series of substitute anchors will fill in for him during his suspension, according to Fox.
The top-rated cable network has been roiled for the last year by sexual-harassment allegations. Former network chairman Roger Ailes, who died in May, was forced out after multiple women accused him of making unwanted sexual advances, which he denied.
“There are a lot of great people working at Fox, many of whom I admire and respect to this day, but there is also a culture of sexual harassment that has not fully been addressed,” said Ms. Heldman. “I have faith that, given recent decisions to fire and suspend perpetrators, the new management will effectively shift this culture.”