Was Shepard Smith Shoved Into the Closet?

Are News Networks Afraid of LGBT Anchors?

In recent days, MV has been hearing a number of reports that Shepard Smith at Fox News wanted to come out of the closet officially and openly disclose that he is gay. He appears to have been blocked from doing so by network executives, if the rumors are to be believed. 


Gawker reported on 4/30/15 that the handsome newsman wanted to be open about his sexual orientation with the public. Gawker shares that Smith repeatedly told Fox News President Roger Ailes, “It’s time” According to the rumor-mille, Mr. Ailes does not agree.

“This came up during contract negotiations,” a Fox insider told Gawker. “Shep wanted to and was ready to come out, and Roger just said no.”

There has been previous reporting by Gawker to suggest that Shepard Smith has a boyfriend. He apparently brought this person to a company picnic last summer, which may have freaked out a few of the top brass at the network. According to the Gawker report, the most dramatic reaction came from Bill Shine, the channel’s Executive Vice President of Programming. Shine “flipped out”, according to the piece. 

Interestingly enough, the article in Gawker goes on to share that a high-level meeting took place after the picnic by Shine to “discuss a plan of action” about Shepard Smith.

“His fear was that Shep’s audience would implode,” said an individual familiar with the meeting, during which Shine forcefully argued against Smith coming out. His argument was simple: Our audience is not ready for a gay anchor.” – Gawker.


Perhaps more disturbing is the rumored demotion of Shepard Smith from his primetime, 7PM slot (The Fox Report) to a 3PM slot (Shepard Smith Reporting) after the picnic incident. It is also concerning to hear that Fox News may be trying to put a lid on Smith’s romantic life, according to the Gawker piece.  

For the record, Fox News and Shepard have issued a statement about the Gawker article that says: “100% false and a complete fabrication.” It is important to note the statement does not deny Shepard Smith is gay – it only denies what appears in the Gawker piece about Smith’s rumored demotion.

We also want to point out that Mr. Shine's statements on this matter appear in an article published by TV Insider.   

This isn’t the first time gay rumors have floated around about Shepard Smith. Queerty, for example has reported on the news anchor in the past.  If Smith is gay and indeed does want to come out of the closet, what do they think would happen? Would the network’s viewers stampede over to CNN on MSNBC? Somehow, that just seems doubtful!

News Industry Issue?

At Gay Celebrity Gossip, the real issue isn’t Smith’s sexual orientation but instead, the apparent climate of ignorance that seems to exist at some of the major news networks. To be direct, there are news reporters who are rumored to be gay or living in “glass closets” who feel they need to “hide” in order to keep their job. Rachel Maddow, an “out” TV host for MSNBC has spoken to this issue, as reported in our piece about rumored to be gay news personality, David Muir.

What fantasy are the some news networks living under where they think having a gay anchor (or primetime reporter) will somehow cause viewers to flee? This is 2014 – not 1950! Gay marriage is here, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is dead and public attitudes towards same sex relationships have moved massively towards the positive over the past decade (PRRI).

Final Thoughts

At this blog, we do not know the sexual orientation of Shepard Smith. We do however find him to be a decent, likeable person who appears to be working for an organization that is backwards on this issue, if the Gawker story is to be believed.

We have no reason to not believe Gawker. The Shepard Smith story really needs to be widened to the larger issue gay journalists who may feel it necessary to lock themselves in the closet as a condition of employment. We will put the question to you in the form of a poll.

Do you think an openly gay network news anchor would cause viewers to flee?