Scandals That Brought Down High-Profile News Anchors

This feature contains allegations of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and racism.

It is a news anchor's responsibility to objectively report facts, which requires a certain degree of trust between the journalist and the viewer. A big scandal can shatter that trust, sending the entire newsroom's credibility swirling down the drain. With the 24-hour news cycle constantly hungry for content, a disgraced journalist is as juicy a scoop as any — and boy do they serve!

Back in 1997, NBC fired Marv Albert after the famous sportscaster pled guilty to assault and battery charges amid a sexual assault allegation. Albert, a longtime news anchor at the network was accused of physically and sexually assaulting a woman, per the Los Angeles Times. Albert subsequently received a 12 months suspended sentence for assault and battery charges. In exchange, the sexual assault charge was dropped. Despite this tainting his reputation, he was eventually able to get back into the broadcasting scene, going on to work for many more years.

Similarly, in 2009, baseball analyst Steve Phillips was fired from ESPN after news of an affair with a 22-year-old production assistant broke. "Steve Phillips is no longer working for ESPN," the sports network revealed at the time. "His ability to be an effective representative for ESPN has been significantly and irreparably damaged, and it became evident it was time to part ways." Like Albert, Phillips was able to redeem his career in the following years. But while these two bounced back from these controversies, a lot more news anchors had scandals that shook their careers to the core.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Bill O'Reilly

Longtime Fox News host Bill O'Reilly was forced from the network in the wake of The New York Times bombshell report revealing that he paid around $13 million in secret settlements to five women who accused him of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. O'Reilly vehemently denied every accusation — even in his statement about leaving the network. "It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims," he said, per Deadline. "But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today."

Fox News parent company, 21st Century Fox, framed O'Reilly's ouster as a mutual decision, claiming in a statement, "After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the company and Bill O'Reilly have agreed that Bill O'Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel." It is widely believed that public pressure and loss of advertiser support were influential in O'Reilly's exit.

He suffered another blow to his reputation in October 2017 when another article in The New York Times exposed a sixth sexual harassment settlement, for which O'Reilly reportedly paid out $32 million. In July 2021, one of his accusers, Andrea Mackris, detailed the sexual misconduct she alleged O'Reilly inflicted against her in a profile with The Daily Beast. In doing so, she broke the NDA agreement in place as part of her $2 million settlement. In response, O'Reilly was granted a temporary restraining order which restricted her from making more public appearances on the matter at that time, per Daily Mail

Eric Bolling

Eric Bolling, Fox News talking head and co-host of Fox News Specialists, saw his cable news career vanish amidst reports of his alleged lewd conduct towards fellow employees. On August 4, 2017, HuffPost published a report claiming it had spoken with 12 women who confirmed the allegation that Bolling had sent unsolicited images of his genitals to at least three co-workers.  

Bolling was suspended by Fox News, but he denied the allegations, tweeting, "I look forward to clearing my name ASAP." He also failed to release any kind of formal statement of denial, instead suing the HuffPost reporter who broke the story, Yashar Ali, for defamation, according to Variety. Fox News launched its own investigation into the matter, and a month later, Bolling was out. In a statement from a Fox News spokesperson, the network said, "Bolling and Fox have agreed to part ways amicably," and announced that his show would be canceled. "We thank Eric for his 10 years of service to our loyal viewers and wish him the best of luck." While the scandal had seemingly floored him for many years, in 2021, Bolling was given a new lease of life when he joined the Fox News rival Newsmax as a host.

Brian Williams

Brian Williams had the perfect blend of everyman likability and professional integrity. He was the George Clooney of network news. That all changed in 2015 when his account of being in a Chinook helicopter that was forced down after taking RPG fire in Iraq was accused of being full of falsities by war veterans who spoke to Stars and Stripes (via Vox). He was actually in a completely different helicopter roughly half an hour away from where the chopper attack happened. 

Williams issued an apology during a segment on his "Nightly News" show (via the Independent) wherein he claimed that certain aspects of the incident had caused him to incorrectly remember the event over the years, adding, "I feel terrible about making this mistake." Speaking to Stars and Stripes, he further added that fear had further fogged his memory. "It was my first engagement of the war and remember I was ... scared," he told the outlet.

Regardless, his discovery opened the floodgates for further scrutiny, which quickly uncovered more exaggerated claims or outright lies he had told about reporting from New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, the fall of the Berlin wall, and more, per CNN. After what many viewed as an inadequate on-air apology, Williams was suspended without pay until eventually being reinstated on MSNBC to serve as Chief Breaking News Anchor, which sounds all kinds of fancy, but in reality, was a massive demotion. Given his missteps, it's kind of remarkable that he maintained the position until 2021.

Rick Sánchez

In what was probably the easiest employee termination of all time, Rick Sánchez was fired from CNN the day after his infamous SiriusXM interview with Pete Dominick, during which he rolled out some heavy anti-semitic remarks that were capable of killing any career, let alone one that relies on people's intrinsic belief of your objective journalistic integrity. 

ABC News transcribed Sanchez's remarks which included his calling "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart a bigot. "I'm telling you that everyone who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart," he said, "And to imply that somehow they, the people in this country who are Jewish, are an oppressed minority? Yeah ... I can't see someone not getting a job these days because they're Jewish." 

CNN subsequently issued a terse statement revealing that Sánchez was no longer a part of the network (via Insider). Days later, in a statement published by Deadline, Sanchez issued an apology and suggested that he'd misspoken. "I am very much opposed to hate and intolerance, in any form," he proclaimed. Later that month, during an episode of "Larry King Live" (via The Hollywood Reporter), Stewart expressed his opinion that Sánchez shouldn't have been fired for the incident.

Sánchez took a hiatus before bouncing back on Fox News Latino and Fox News, where he served as a contributor. In 2022, he became the co-founder of Agua Media, a production company and podcast network serving the Latinx community which also hosts "The Rick Sánchez Show."

Dan Rather

In 2004, "60 Minutes" producer Mary Mapes brought a story to then-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather about documents suggesting President George W. Bush may have received preferential treatment regarding his service in the Texas Air National Guard. After what he felt was adequate vetting of the documents, including a verbal validation from one of the higher-ups in Bush's old chain of command, Rather took the story to air.

This all went down in the middle of Bush's reelection bid. The timing, coupled with the scandalous nature of the accusations, caused a massive uproar. Bloggers relentlessly scrutinized the documents and challenged every aspect of their authenticity. Key players recanted statements they made to Mapes' investigative team, and CBS News soon became a target for other major news outlets.

Since Rather was the face of the story, the blame ultimately landed in his lap, and pressure from the network forced an on-air apology. About two months after the apology, Rather announced his resignation from the anchor seat, although he claimed that his decision wasn't influenced by the story. "I have been lucky and blessed over these years to have what is, to me, the best job in the world and to have it at CBS News," Rather said during his resignation announcement, per CBS News. "Along the way, I've had the honor of working with some of the most talented, dedicated professionals in the world, and I'm appreciative of the opportunity to continue doing so in the years ahead."

Lara Logan

Lara Logan wasn't an anchor, but she was a fast-rising reporter for "60 Minutes" who definitely had her eye on the big network chairs. Her frontline reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan, and uprisings pertaining to the Arab Spring put her on the map as a fearless and ambitious journalist who went to extremes to land a story.

After experiencing a terrifying sexual assault in Tahrir Square — a story that came with its own round of controversy — Logan thought she landed a major scoop on the 2012 Benghazi attack. Relying heavily on the account of Dylan Davies, a security contractor who claimed to have been present when U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and four other Americans were killed, Logan reported Davies' version of events on "60 Minutes." Unfortunately, Davies told a vastly different story to the FBI and others, which tainted his credibility. Per CBS News, Logan apologized on air and was subsequently asked to take a leave of absence. She returned to "60 Minutes" six months later. 

By 2022, Logan had pivoted all the way from war correspondent to a right-wing pundit of such outspoken radical opinions that she was banned from making any future appearances by Newsmax. Per Insider, the political commentator became renowned for making controversial statements in which she attempted to present racist conspiracy theories as solid fact, suggested that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was a stooge hired by the CIA, and compared Dr. Anthony Fauci to Dr. Josef Mengele, a Nazi doctor who organized horrific experiments on Auschwitz prisoners.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Keith Olbermann

Although no lone scandal disgraced Keith Olbermann, his blatantly unprofessional behavior has cost him jobs at ESPN, MSNBC, and Current TV, as well as the FOK News Channel, which sounds like a parody of Fox, but in reality, was Olbermann's own blog and web series. FOK News Channel got swallowed up in his deal with Current TV, which went bye-bye when Olbermann supposedly flaked on half of his scheduled work days, according to "Talking Points Memo."

Current TV explained Olbermann's departure like this (via Deadline) — "Current was also founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately, these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it."

As for his stints at MSNBC and ESPN, Olbermann was ousted from the former shortly after it was revealed that he failed to get approval for several political contributions, reported CNN. His departure from ESPN (which was actually his second time being employed by the sports broadcaster) was subsequently reported as being nothing more than a business decision. But there were murmurs about heated contract disputes and the network's displeasure with Olbermann's commentary on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Ann Curry

As the story goes, Ann Curry was allegedly used as a pawn in a strategy to get Matt Lauer to resign his contract; she was offered the "Today" anchor seat in the hope that she would fail. Brian Stetler's book, "Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV" (via New York magazine,) details the alleged back door dealings. According to the book, Meredith Vieira's departure from "Today" along with "Good Morning America"'s rise in ratings left both Lauer and Curry in a position to leverage juicy contracts. Lauer's deal was near its end, and Curry had a contract stipulation that ensured her a crack at the anchor seat after Viera, or she could go to another network. The only problem: Lauer allegedly couldn't stand Curry, so to keep Lauer happy, the network allegedly had to find a way to ditch Curry. Got all that?

Supposedly, network bosses and veteran crew members who also didn't favor Curry fostered an uncomfortable work environment, prompting her to leave the position voluntarily, thus appeasing Lauer in the process. Curry delivered a tearful exit speech from the "Today" show couch just two years after she took her place on it. We know what you're thinking: this sounds like a lot of cloak-and-dagger for a show that later launched a segment where Carson Daly just peruses Twitter. Maybe Curry is the winner here?

Matt Lauer

In November 2017, after 20 years at NBC News, Matt Lauer suffered a huge blow to his career when NBC announced it had fired the longtime journalist. In a company-wide memo, NBC News chairman Andrew Lack revealed the termination was prompted by a sexual harassment complaint filed against Lauer by a female co-worker. "It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company's standards," Lack wrote in the memo, per NBC News. "Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected and to ensure that any actions that run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender." Despite acknowledging that it was the first time receiving a complaint against Lauer, Lack admitted they had reason to believe it had happened before. 

Variety would later report that at least 10 women — some former, others current employees of NBC at the time — had come out to allege similarly horrific encounters with Lauer. "There were a lot of consensual relationships, but that's still a problem because of the power he held," a former NBC producer said of the situation. While Lauer expressed regret for his actions and the damage his behavior caused, he also claimed that not every allegation was altogether accurate. "But there is enough truth in these stories," he added, per Variety. "... Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I'm committed to beginning that effort."

Don Lemon

In April 2023, the media landscape was thrown into a frenzy after longtime CNN anchor Don Lemon announced the network had fired him. "I was informed by my agent this morning that I have been terminated by CNN," Lemon confirmed in a statement shared on Twitter. In his statement, Lemon expressed shock over his termination, adding that CNN left him blindsided during the entire process. "At no time was I ever given any indication that I would not be able to continue to do the work I loved at the network," he added. However, CNN fired back, rebutting the longtime host's claims and accusing him of boycotting a previously arranged dialogue. "Don Lemon's statement about this morning's events is inaccurate. He was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter," a tweet from the network read. 

But despite CNN offering no public explanation for Lemon's termination, many have since speculated that it was prompted by the sexist comment he passed at Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley during her appearance on "CNN This Morning" in February 2023. "Nikki Haley is not in her prime, sorry. A woman is considered to be in her prime in her 20s, 30s, and maybe her 40s," Lemon said at the time, per US Weekly. Though he later publicly apologized to Haley, the scandal, coupled with other incidents of Lemon hurling discriminatory remarks is presumed to have influenced his termination.

Tucker Carlson

Call him the Kanye West of journalism because Tucker Carlson sure knows how to stir up a scandal. While the anchor's media career dates back to the '90s, he has since racked up enough controversies to last him a lifetime. So, when Carlson was dismissed by Fox in April 2023, it was barely a surprise. "Fox News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways," the network said in a statement, per the Los Angeles Times. "We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor." 

The abrupt termination came only a few days after Fox Corporation paid $787.5 million to Dominion Voting Systems in settlement for the defamation lawsuit filed by the ballot technology company back in March 2021. Unsurprisingly, Carlson was among Fox hosts listed to have made defamatory allegations suggesting that Dominion Voting Systems had manipulated the results of the 2020 election. While this is believed to have contributed to his dismissal from the network, Carlson also had a few more negative marks against his name.

Prior to his termination, he also faced public backlash after attempting to portray the January 6 insurrection as a peaceful protest. Additionally, at the time of his dismissal, the longtime Fox host was facing allegations of discrimination in a lawsuit filed by former Fox producer Abby Grossberg. As reported by The New York Times, in her filing, Grossberg accused Carlson, among others, of frequently making misogynistic comments and anti-semitic jokes.

TJ Holmes and Amy Robach

"Good Morning America" co-hosts TJ Holmes and Amy Robach made national headlines in November 2022 after news of their romantic relationship broke. They were both still legally married at the time. "Their relationship has been going on in secret for quite some time, but how long is truly unknown, as they did their best to keep things professional and private," a source told ET of the pair's romance.

Per Page Six, while ABC president Kim Godwin confirmed that the affair was not in violation of the network's policy, she did describe it as a distraction. The pair were subsequently taken off their roles at "GMA" as the network conducted its internal investigation. However, things took a new turn in January 2023 when Holmes' alleged past office romances, including one with a former ABC intern, came to light. According to the Daily Mail, it was alleged that the intern, Jasmin Pettaway, looked up to Holmes for mentorship but was instead met with a sexual relationship that left her feeling used. "He was a predator who took full advantage of his position, and he was reckless," an insider told the outlet. Neither Holmes nor Pettaway commented on the allegations.

Meanwhile, TMZ reported that Robach was accused of violating ABC company policy by keeping alcohol in her dressing room (a source alleged the bottles in question were a gift from ABC executives). In January 2023, both she and Holmes were dismissed from the network following a mediation session.

Chris Cuomo

Blood is thicker than water — or so Chris Cuomo will likely tell you! In November 2021, CNN suspended the longtime host after documents released by the New York attorney general's office confirmed he used his media connections to help his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, navigate his sexual harassment scandal. By doing so, Chris apparently violated CNN's journalistic code of conduct. Responding to his suspension, the host described the situation as embarrassing but expressed an understanding of why it had to be done. "The last thing I ever wanted to do was compromise any of my colleagues or do anything but help," he said on his "Let's Get After It" SiriusXM radio show, per NPR.

Following the completion of an internal investigation, in December 2021, CNN announced that the network was severing ties with Chris. "We retained a respected law firm to conduct the review, and have terminated him, effective immediately," the network shared in a statement. They added that amid their review, new information about the situation was discovered. 

In response to his dismissal, Chris expressed disappointment over the turn of events but added that he remained proud of his achievements with the network. "This is not how I wanted my time at CNN to end but I have already told you why and how I helped my brother," he wrote on Twitter. Despite losing his job and suffering a big blow to his reputation, Chris apparently has no regrets. In the words of the sage Dom Toretto, "You don't turn your back on family, even when they do!"

Charlie Rose

After a long successful run, Charlie Rose's media career came crashing down in November 2017 when The Washington Post published an exposé regarding sexual misconduct allegations from eight women who formerly worked with the veteran journalist. "He was a sexual predator, and I was his victim," Reah Bravo, one of Rose's purported victims alleged at the time. Bravo, alongside seven other women, accused Rose of groping and touching them inappropriately, making unwanted sexual advances, and going as far as to walk in front of them while naked.

Shortly after the exposé was released, PBS and Bloomberg suspended the airing of Rose's shows while CBS News announced that the longtime host had been suspended. "These allegations are extremely disturbing and we take them very seriously," the network said in a statement. The next day, PBS and Bloomberg officially severed ties with Rose, with PBS confirming an official statement, "In light of yesterday's revelations, PBS has terminated its relationship with Charlie Rose and canceled distribution of his programs," per CBS News. 

Responding to the allegations, Rose apologized for his behavior but maintained that some of the allegations were untrue. "I have behaved insensitively at times, and I accept responsibility for that, though I do not believe that all of these allegations are accurate," he said at the time, per E! News. "I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Mark Halperin

In October 2017A, ABC News host Mark Halperin was slapped with multiple sexual harassment allegations from five women he'd previously worked with who accused him of several incidents involving inappropriate and non-consensual physical contact. "I went up to have a soda and talk and — he just kissed me and grabbed my boobs," a former ABC employee alleged, per CNN. "I just froze. I didn't know what to do." Additionally, Halperin was also accused of making sexual advances to some of these women. He apologized for his actions in a statement published by CNN. "I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me," he admitted. "I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain. For that, I am deeply sorry."

An apology was not enough to salvage the situation as MSNBC and NBC News, with whom he held contracts at the time, announced it was cutting ties with the longtime journalist, per CNN Business. In an extensive statement published on Twitter, Halperin acknowledged he caused harm to his victims and expressed regret over his actions. "For a long time at ABC News, I was part of the problem. I acknowledge that, and I deeply regret it ... It caused fear and anxiety for women who were only seeking to do their jobs," he wrote.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Kimberly Guilfoyle

In July 2018, only one year after renewing her contract with Fox News, Kimberly Guilfoyle resigned from the network, per Deadline. Though the reason for her abrupt exit was initially unknown, HuffPost later confirmed that Guilfoyle was forced to leave the company following allegations of inappropriate behavior. According to the outlet, Guilfoyle had been accused of sexual misconduct, which ranged from having explicit sexual conversations to showing off personal photographs depicting the genitalia of her sexual partners.

But even after her exit, Guilfoyle's reputation at Fox News lingered. According to The New Yorker, the network was forced to pay millions of dollars in settlement to a staff member who accused the former lawyer of sexual harassment. The assistant, who mostly worked at Guilfoyle's apartment, alleged that the longtime anchor often exposed her to unconsenting nudity by walking around naked. Other times, Guilfoyle allegedly misbehaved by either asking her assistant to sleep over or giving unsolicited sexual advice.

Despite the damning allegations, Guilfoyle denied any wrongdoings or misconduct during her time at Fox News. "In my 30-year career working for the SF District Attorney's Office, the LA District Attorney's Office, in media and in politics, I have never engaged in any workplace misconduct of any kind," she said in a statement to The New Yorker. "During my career, I have served as a mentor to countless women, with many of whom I remain exceptionally close to this day." 

Ed Henry

In 2016, veteran journalist Ed Henry found himself caught up in a scandal after his months-long affair with hostess Natalia Lima went public. Henry, who has been married since 2010, reportedly met Lima in 2011 but the relationship allegedly didn't turn sexual until four years later. "Whenever he was in town, we would pretty much just have sex. He has a really high sex drive. We were friends for a few years before we did anything and a nice guy... a kinky nice guy," Lima told In Touch (via Daily Mail) of the affair.

Amid the scandal, Henry was suspended by Fox News who confirmed he was taking a break from his hosting duties. "We recently became aware of Ed's personal issues and he's taking some time off to work things out," a Fox News spokesperson said at the time, per CNN. However, only four months later, the veteran journalist was back on air. But despite getting a second chance at his career, Henry soon enough found himself in an even bigger scandal.

In June 2020, Henry was in hot water again. In a company-wide memo, Fox News explained, "On Thursday, June 25, we received a complaint about Ed Henry from a former employee's attorney involving willful sexual misconduct in the workplace years ago." A few days later, Henry was officially fired from his position at the network.