Shepard Smith, the gay FOX News anchor who sometimes criticized President Trump, will be leaving the network immediately. He made the announcement at the end of his Friday show.
Smith said he won’t be working for another news outlet anytime in the near future elsewhere, but the suddenness of his departure has caused speculation about his reasons for leaving his employer of 23 years.
In his goodbye statement (video below), Smith said:
“Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News and begin a new chapter. After requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged. The opportunities afforded this guy from small town Mississippi have been many. It’s been an honor and a privilege to report the news each day to our loyal audience in context and with perspective, without fear or favor. I’ve worked with the most talented, dedicated and focused professionals I know and I’m proud to have anchored their work each day — I will deeply miss them.”
Notably, Smith’s departure follows a meeting between Trump’s Attorney General Bill Barr and FOX News owner Rupert Murdoch this week. It also comes a day after the President insulted Smith by name via Twitter:
…Court Justice & I turned him down (he’s been terrible ever since), Shep Smith, @donnabrazile (who gave Crooked Hillary the debate questions & got fired from @CNN), & others, @FoxNews doesn’t deliver for US anymore. It is so different than it used to be. Oh well, I’m President!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2019
The news seems to have surprised and shaken some of his co-workers:
Neil Cavuto and John Roberts clearly blind-sided by Shep Smith departure pic.twitter.com/36ijhC8th6
— Nicole Lafond (@Nicole_Lafond) October 11, 2019
Here’s video of his announcement: