As news spread Monday that Jamie Horowitz was out at Fox, there was a fair amount of rejoicing in the world of sports media Twitter. After all, Horowitz was the figurehead of the movement to essentially eliminate writers and editorial staff in favor of talking head videos, as we reported last week.

Still, a firing is a firing, and though the initial announcement hinted at some kind of personal conduct issue, there were some people who attempted to take the high road, given they’d been through the exact same thing:

However, within minutes, that story was changing:

And it didn’t take long for news to break that Horowitz was fired amidst a sexual harassment investigation. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to note that Horowitz had retained a litigator, which portended a legal battle over his termination. From there, the Los Angeles Times reported the initial details on the harassment case, including that the investigation began within the last week.

And now, Sports Illustrated‘s Richard Deitsch and Michael McCann reported even further, getting a comment from the aforementioned lawyer, Patricia Glaser:

Horowitz’s lawyer, prominent Los Angeles attorney Patricia Glaser, told SI.com in an email that, “The way he has been treated by Fox is appalling. At no point in his tenure was there any mention by his superiors or by human resources of any misconduct or an inability to adhere to professional conduct. Jamie was hired by Fox to do a job—a job that, until today, he has performed in an exemplary fashion. Any slanderous accusations to the contrary will be vigorously defended.”

Meanwhile, according to Sports Business Journal‘s John Ourand, Fox has also retained legal counsel for this matter:

And they’ve already responded to Glaser’s comments:

Deitsch and McCann also spoke with a woman who worked at Fox under Horowitz; she was interviewed as part of the internal investigation that led to Horowitz’s dismissal:

One woman who has worked in production at Fox Sports told Sports Illustrated on Monday that she spoke last week with HR officials for Fox Sports for more than an hour. She recounted a story of Horowitz attempting to kiss her at an offsite location last year. “I have been working in sports for a long time, and no one has ever been that bold with me,” said the woman, who asked that her name not be used.

“I saw him at Fox one day, and he said he wanted to catch up. He said we could meet up to talk. The hook was that he could get me more work. Fox HR called me last week. They asked about what had happened. I gave some details and then called back and gave more details. To Fox’s credit they handed it quickly and really pro-active. They went out of their way to contact me.”

The rest of that SI piece is very much worth reading, as it delves further into the potential outcomes for any legally contested contract dispute, and that seems like a foregone conclusion at this point in the proceedings.

There will likely be much more to this story in the coming weeks and months, so perhaps it’s best to attempt to frame the discussion now. Certainly, Horowitz made business decisions that had an adverse effect on the lives of many employees who lost jobs. It’s natural for those people, and their supporters within the industry, to want to celebrate Horowitz’s dismissal. That can happen while retaining the appropriate point of view on the alleged harassment, which if true would certainly fall on an entirely different level of conduct.

It’s also going to have an immediate effect on a very visible segment of sports media, and that’s okay to talk about, too. Some already have:

And while keeping the proper balance and tone is important, pretending this isn’t a development with a multi-faceted fallout would be irresponsible. Too often, especially in sports, harassment claims are ignored or minimized. To not mention the allegations in this instance in favor of an approach consisting solely of industry speculation would be the wrong way to go.

There will obviously be much more to come.

[SI]

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.

  • newdog301

    Couple of points:

    1) I hope the female employee’s name doesn’t come out. There shouldn’t be, but there is an impact on the career trajectory of people who file claims to HR or to courts about harassment. I hope she can avoid that, but with Horowitz lawyering up, I doubt it.

    2) I’m still confused by Garbage Time’s cancellation. Its ratings certainly weren’t great, but at times they weren’t that bad either. For a young network you need to take risks, you need to build original programming and give it a chance to eventually build up a loyal audience. Unfortunately, it looks like they’re never going to consider anything without a former ESPN on it. It doesn’t seem like they’re hoping to build fans they just hope to steal eyeballs flipping channels saying, “Hey isn’t that Bayless/Cowherd/Whitlock/Carter/Lewis etc.”

    • MrBull

      Howoritz didn’t want any programs nor really any on-air personnel from before his time on air at FS1….
      Apparently, he didn’t learn anything from his downfall at nbc and now his career is over…
      And I agree with you the part about the female employee…as to lawyering up, Howortiz is looking to get the rest of his $$$$ on the contract…it is called a settlement….

    • Andy Salcedo

      A large part of the Fox Sports layoffs reportedly due to Horowitz cleaning out anything that predates his tenure (including Fox Sports Live and Garbage Time)

      • newdog301

        True, but I could see why he got rid of FSL. Even though it morphed into a pseudo commentary/highlight show, it was clear he only wants talking heads giving their opinion. Garbage Time fit that bill.

  • Jean H Pierre

    Talk about timing. On July 4th weekend or week. Where does FOX SPORTS go from here?

    • Shawn Diiorio

      they still have live sports, so they won’t die, but if they were to lose key assets, which would be years down the road, then they would be in trouble.

      • Jean H Pierre

        Yup.. NASCAR, MLB, MLS, WORLD CUP and college football etc. They should bring back Jay and Dan do FOX SPORTS LIVE again.

        • Shawn Diiorio

          They failed already at FS1 because no one wants to watch a alternative to SC. Fox Sports Live was the XFL to SC’s NFL.

        • Andy Salcedo

          Jay and Dan went back to Canada and once again will be doing the Midnight Sportscentre on TSN

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  • Ben Townes

    Ricky Deitsch first Tweeted the full Meir Kahane Defense of his ally, Horowitz.

    Then, in SI, Ricky Deitsch essentially outlined the entire legal/Judea and Samaria defense strategy of Horowitz.

    Usually don’t see this much hasbara-for-pay unless one reads Israel Hayom.

    • inku palios

      Honestly, News Corps has a problem with sexual harassment. Honestly, did Katie Nolan’s show get cancelled, because she refused Jamie Horowitz’s sexual advances?

      • Ben Townes

        That may be true, but Ricky Deitsch has no problem running the Full Meir Kahane Defense on Twitter and in SI for one of his brothers, Horowitz.

        Don’t often see this much obvious hasbara-for-offshore-shekels unless one reads Czar Adelson’s Israel Hayom, where hasbara is/was on the masthead.

    • FightTheStupids

      Hard to believe that even today, someone can be *this* hateful, and have that hate lead to embarrassingly-bad conclusions based on no facts, just blind hatred. How AA hasn’t cleaned this up is beyond me.

      • Ben Townes

        Lotta Meir Kahane acolytes out there, Comrade Flake.

        Aside from you and your Kinfolk.

      • Ben Townes

        One whole comment in your entire Discus history, Comrade Flake?
        You based in a tank on K Street or Miami Beach or at Hayom and/or Glickenstein?

  • dmeisin

    Out of curiosity…why shouldn’t the accuser be identified? What if her story is not true?

    • PatHobby

      Well her employer, FOX, investigated and determined that her story was true. If Horowitz sues and is able to prove that her story wasn’t true she should be outed as a liar.

      • dmeisin

        So, by your logic, because his employer thinks the story to be true means he should serve time until the police investigate…and, when it comes to harassment claims, perception is often times more important than reality

        • Mark S

          And by your logic, victims/accusers should be identified, even if they turn out to be correct?

        • PatHobby

          What time is he serving? He just got fired.

          • dmeisin

            You are making my point. This doesn’t appear to be a criminal case…more a he said/she said thing…purely a civil matter. If someone loses their livelihood because of an allegation doesn’t the public have a right to know who the accuser is? Maybe…maybe not…

          • PatHobby

            Why does the public have a right to know about a human resources issue at a company? If you get fired from your job do I have a right to contact your employer, ask why, and get the names of anyone involved? Of course not. People get fired for cause all the time, if he was unfairly treated he should sue.

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