As with most awards shows, the Emmys puts together an annual memorial clip for all the actors, producers, and other television professionals who passed away in the year running up to the show. While fans usually seem upset when their faves are left out of the montage (which is often due to the timing of celebs passing), this year, that unhappiness was amplified by the addition of former Fox News boss (and accused serial sexual harasser) Roger Ailes.
There’s no mistaking that Ailes has definitely shaped the way — for better or worse — that folks watch (and interact with) the news since taking the reins as Fox News CEO in 1996. What is upsetting many is that the newsman’s legacy also includes numerous accusations of harassing women, including those who worked for him, like former on-air Fox host Gretchen Carlson.
Carlson famously sued her employer and the network in 2016, accusing Ailes of harassment including his propositioning her for sex, which she refused and claimed led to her firing. When Carlson’s case hit the news, more than 20 other women came forward with similar claims against Ailes — some dating back to the 1960s.
Because of this history of alleged abuse of women, viewers voiced their anger and concern over his inclusion in the memorial montage, and pointed out that his addition left out some very famous and important stars.
At the heart of it, fans are angry over the normalization of a person whose career has been mired by accusations of mistreatment of women. Although Ailes’ passing has stopped any further actions against the news network, people are frustrated by the idea that he should be applauded for his life’s work while ignoring the alleged abuses that may have happened along the way.
Victims of abuse are often lambasted in public, and forced to defend themselves against the people who they have accused (a phenomenon described by Amber Tamblyn in her now-viral recent op-ed). According to Department of Justice stats, two thirds of women are assaulted by someone they already know, and often do not report their assault out of fear of their attacker retaliating in some way.
Hopefully, the backlash against Ailes will have next year’s telecast take a closer look at just who they decide to honor during the show.
What did you think about the In Memoriam during the Emmys? Tell us @BritandCo!
(Photo via Frederick M. Brown/Getty)