Respected News Anchors Who Are Actually Terrible People

News anchors are great, in theory. We rely on them to help us understand what is going on in the world, to deliver the news with gravitas and truth. There's a reason Walter Cronkite was once the most trusted man in America. We watch them head into hurricanes and war zones, do things we as viewers could never do, and all in the name of getting information out there. And talking heads sometimes give us their informed opinions to help us break it all down.

But like all human beings, news anchors are fallible. And some of them seem to be hiding just how terrible they are. While many of them are more creative about their personal failings, a ridiculous amount turned out to be sex pests. It seems it's almost impossible to sit at a desk and read a teleprompter without also being some kind of bigot or pervert.

Nancy Grace badgered a woman to death

It's not every news anchor who has a section on "controversies" that takes up half of their Wikipedia page. But Nancy Grace is not every news anchor. She once reported on true crime and, according to The New York Times, she had a bit of a problem of assuming absolutely everyone was guilty. She "races toward judgment, heedlessly ignoring nuance and evidence on her way to finding guilt." A law professor said she managed to "demean" both the legal and journalism professions with her "hype, rabid persona, and sensational analysis."

Rushing to judgment means she often gets things wrong. She was humiliated when the Duke lacrosse team was acquitted of rape charges and was wrong about who kidnapped Elizabeth Smart. But perhaps the biggest stain on her reputation her dealings with Melinda Duckett. In 2006, the 21-year-old mother came on Grace's show. Her 2-year-old son had just been kidnapped two weeks before, so she was obviously in a lot of pain. Presumably all she wanted was to drum up publicity so her child could be found. Instead, she found herself in a firing squad. Grace automatically assumed she was guilty and berated her with aggressive questions for 20 minutes. The next day Duckett died by suicide. Grace did not feel the least bit bad about what she did, even going so far as saying it was due to guilt, and not the interview.

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Rick Sanchez goes after the wrong guy

Rick Sanchez had been with CNN for six years, was the host of his own show ("Rick's List"), and things were going pretty well for him. Then he made two bad decisions: spouting anti-Semitic garbage on the radio and going after Jon Stewart. If history had told us anything, it's just stupid to try and attack Jon Stewart because he will bring you down. It's also not great to tell the world you're a huge bigot. Not surprisingly, Sanchez didn't have his job for long. 

According to ABC News, his terrible choices started when he agreed to go on the radio show "Stand Up! With Pete Dominick." Sanchez was mad because Stewart had called him a "twit" on "The Daily Show." He said the comedian was just "bigoted" against "everybody else who isn't like him." It was a dog whistle but pretty obvious what he was talking about. Then it got worse. When the host pointed out that Stewart was part of a minority group since he was Jewish, Sanchez went all in saying, "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, and to imply that somehow they, the people in this country who are Jewish, are an oppressed minority? Yeah." Ah, the old "Jews run the media." It didn't go over well, and Sanchez was fired from his show.

Brian Williams wanted to be a hero

When you're a journalist reporting the news, it's important to not make yourself the story. You're supposed to be an impartial observer, not part of the action. But Brian Williams seemed to have some sort of hero complex. Over his long and storied career he was often out in the field and saw some crazy things. But the truth wasn't enough for him and he would often exaggerate or "misremember" certain events. These lies usually exaggerated his role or made what was happening to him sound more exciting.

Take the Iraq war.  Williams liked to tell a story that he had been flying in a helicopter with troops when they were forced down by a rocket-propelled grenade. Thrilling! But we eventually found out the helicopter Williams rode in was actually three hours behind the ones that came under fire. It seems that one Iraq War helicopter lie wasn't enough for him, and he also claimed to have flown into Baghdad with Seal Team 6, even though no journalists were embedded with that unit.

His lies were creative. He claimed to have seen a dead body floating in the French Quarter after Hurricane Katrina. He said he was in Cairo's Tahrir Square and close enough to make eye contact with horses during the Egyptian protests, when he was really in his hotel. And he even told people he was there the night the Berlin Wall came down. His lies got him suspended from NBC ... and quietly moved to MSNBC.

Keith Olbermann can't hold down a job

Keith Olbermann was once the biggest name on MSNBC, but his employment history is really complicated and involves lots of sudden firings. CNN said he has been called a "perpetual bridge-burner." He has managed to lose jobs at MSNBC, Current TV, and ESPN (twice). One colleague talking to the Christian Science Monitor compared him to Charlie Sheen and said people just get sick of dealing with his huge demands and ego. Another called him "difficult"; a third said he needed to show some humility.

But his most contentious relationship was with the liberal Current TV, but things completely fell apart over there. For two months, Olbermann basically stopped showing up for work. Then he took a vacation he was warned not to take, right before Super Tuesday. He was accused of not respecting the viewers and "sabotaging the network," as well as attacking the network and its executives. When he was finally fired it was brutal. The official announcement (via Talking Points Memo) said, "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." Ouch. Even in corporate-speak, "you suck" sounds harsh.

Olbermann said he was unfairly fired and filed a lawsuit against the company, later settling out of court. 

Matt Lauer was disgusting behind the scenes

For decades, Matt Lauer was the likable face of the wildly popular "Today show." He was the guy who could keep you interested in the news, even when you hadn't had your coffee yet. But Lauer had America confused because it turned out he was absolutely terrible to some of the women he worked with.

The best thing you can say was that at least some of the affairs he had were consensual; he engaged in extramarital affairs with colleagues while he was on the road. But many young staffers found they would be called to his hotel room late at night and propositioned. He'd even do it at work. His desk was one of several in the building that had a button that allowed you to lock the door without getting up. He would allegedly use it to trap women in his office and ask for sex acts. One woman said he exposed himself and admonished her when she started shaking and forcibly refused to do anything with it.

He had absolutely no respect for the women he worked with and his actions showed it. He always wanted to know who his producers were sleeping with, and he would openly discuss who he'd like to shag himself. Once, he gave a staffer an adult toy as a present and told her how he wanted to use it on her. Not surprisingly, once complaints became public, Lauer was fired.

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).

Charlie Rose lost it all

The amazing thing about the harassment accusations that tore through newsrooms in 2017 and 2018 were the seemingly untouchable men they brought down. Charlie Rose is a perfect example of this. He had 45 years of journalistic experience under his belt and roles on "60 Minutes," "CBS This Morning," and his own eponymous and prestigious show. But that didn't stop a flood of women from accusing him of inappropriate behavior.

In 2017, The Washington Post found eight women who said Rose crossed the line. It would start with him touching their legs, they said to gauge what their reaction would be. From there it often escalated. He would grope them in all the places you shouldn't grope coworkers. Some received lewd phone calls from him. One girl was only 21 when she was repeatedly summoned to his house where he would take a shower and then walk around stark naked in front of her. She said this happened at least 12 times. He also told her he wanted to watch her swim naked in a pool.

But the allegations were far from over. In 2018, a whopping 27 more women came forward for another Washington Post story. Their stories were very similar to the other women's: the groping and walking around nude, particularly. One woman said he forcibly kissed her while another said he quizzed her on her sex life. 

Tom Brokaw tried to fight back

Yes, even legendary anchor Tom Brokaw turned out to be a terrible person. At this point, can you trust anyone you've ever seen on TV not to be a harasser? Maybe better to just assume they all are. Brokaw was the face of "NBC Nightly News" for 22 years. Then the accusations started flying.

The Washington Post first broke the story: In 1994, Brokaw asked a low-ranking correspondent come to his hotel room in the middle of the night, even though she told him she was supposed to be traveling. When she refused he went to hers. When he got there Brokaw told her he wanted "an affair of more than passing affection" and forcibly kissed her as she tried to break free. Another woman said Brokaw offered her help with her job but made clear there would be sexual favors involved.

Unlike some of the men on this list who took their punishment quietly, Brokaw fought back. He denied that the interactions had happened the way the women remembered them, essentially saying he hadn't done anything wrong and comparing the accusations to a "drive-by shooting." Then a letter was published in April 2018, signed by over 115 female colleagues of his, including Rachel Maddow, Mika Brzezinski, Andrea Mitchell, and Maria Shriver, saying he was "a man of tremendous decency and integrity." The problem, Page Six reported, was many of the women felt forced into signing the letter.

Malcom Maddox is real gross

Malcom Maddox is less famous than the other people on this list, but in Detroit he was a respected anchor. According to the Detroit Free Press, he was even described as a "Renaissance Man" and his life seemed to play that out. He was a Marine, then a self-taught videographer who played bass on the side. And he worked himself up in the TV news ranks. His life was going pretty well, but like so many other anchors, it turned out he was a harasser.

In Maddox's case, this came out in a lawsuit in 2018. A former colleague of his, Tara Edwards, said he had been bothering her for years. Maddox is accused of repeatedly asking Edwards to engage in "deviant and perverse" acts. He also would trick Edwards into watching pornographic videos, asked if he could urinate on her, and sent her pictures of his genitals.

Instead of getting in trouble, the lawsuit says station executives not only covered up the harassment but kept promoting Maddox. It wasn't until this all became public that he was finally taken off the air.

Geraldo Rivera has bad opinions

These days, Geraldo Rivera is famous for his epic mustache and being a pretty weird talking head. It might be hard to imagine, but there was a time when he used to be a respected newsman. Perhaps it all started to go downhill when he didn't find anything in Al Capone's vault. Whatever caused it, these days he mostly has some really terrible opinions.

Amazingly, no colleagues have yet accused Rivera of the harassment that is plaguing newsrooms right now. But according to the LA Times, that didn't stop him from completely stepping in it. In 2017, as man after man turned out to be a creep, Rivera tweeted out that maybe the women involved were just confused. After all, news was a "flirty" business and maybe they were "criminalizing courtship"? This was far from the first time his opinions got him in trouble. Back in 2012, he weighed in on the Trayvon Martin case, saying the boy wouldn't have been shot and killed if he hadn't been wearing a hoodie.

In 2003 he was embedded with the 101st Airborne in Iraq and put soldiers in danger when, during a Fox broadcast, he drew a map in the sand, gave away his location, and announced an upcoming operation. And he hasn't totally gotten off scot-free on the harassment front. CNN says he stands accused of drugging and groping America's sweetheart Bette Midler during an interview in the 1970s.

Bill O'Reilly is an anger monster

Depending which side of the aisle you sit on, you might be thinking "Bill O'Reilly, a respected news anchor?" But for much of the country, he was. "The O'Reilly Factor" was unbelievably popular, and the highest-rated news show on cable, even beating out Larry King. But the list of terrible deeds of Mr. O'Reilly is long.

O'Reilly is a big ball of anger. This was his shtick when he was on Fox, and he blew up at guests dozens of times. But this wasn't just an act; the guy is a walking advertisement for anger management classes. The internet discovered this when a video of him hosting "Inside Edition" went viral. It showed a rehearsal for the show going badly and he freaks out for basically no reason. He screams "we'll do it live" along with profanity over and over.

And because it is seemingly epidemic among newsmen, O'Reilly is accused of being a serial harasser as well. According to The New York Times, he would get close to women who worked with him or came on his show, often offering to help them with their careers. In the five lawsuits he settled for $13 million, accusations included lewd comments, unwanted flirtation and other advances, verbal abuse from the ball of anger. He would also call women up and then pleasure himself while he was on the phone with them. He finally lost his job after advertisers started fleeing.

Eric Bolling allegedly sent unwanted photos and sued the reporter who told the world

Eric Bolling was an experienced and respected finance guy, serving on the board of the New York Mercantile Exchange and appearing as an expert on CNBC. However, after Bolling joined Fox News and Fox Business News in 2007, he quickly pivoted from newsworthy financial information to the kind of commentary the company is known for. He notably anchored "The Five" as well as "The Fox News Specialists," and for Fox Business, "Cashin' In." 

In 2017, HuffPost reporter Yashar Ali broke the story that a few years earlier, Bolling had sent unwanted pictures of male genitals on multiple occasions to three female co-workers. A total of 14 women corroborated the story. Bolling denied the claims indirectly, via a statement by his attorney, Michael J. Bowe. "Mr. Bolling recalls no such inappropriate communications, does not believe he sent any such communications, and will vigorously pursue his legal remedies for any false and defamatory accusations that are made," Bowe wrote.

Fox News launched an investigation into Bolling's actions and levied an indefinite suspension on the anchor. A week after the HuffPost report, Bolling sued Ali for defamation, seeking $50 million in damages. Ali's lawyer Patty Glaser asked for the suit to be dropped, on account of how it was "utterly devoid of merit." A few weeks later, Fox finished its investigation, with the assistance of a law firm, fired Bolling, and canceled "The Fox News Specialists."

Huw Edwards allegedly paid a teenager for lewd photos

Since the early 2000s, Huw Edwards has been the face of BBC News in the U.K., and thus the deliverer of history as it happens. In his position, as the host of "BBC News at Ten" and other presentations, he anchored coverage of national elections, the 2012 London Summer Olympics, multiple royal weddings, and in 2022, was the first to break the news that Queen Elizabeth II had died.

In July 2023, U.K. tabloid The Sun reported — without naming names — that a prominent male BBC personality had been suspended from on-air duties after the state-run TV network learned that the individual had allegedly paid a teenager in excess of £35,000 (about $43,000) for photographs of a sexual nature. That money in turn funded a crack cocaine addiction. Five days later, the identity was revealed by the man's wife, Vicky Flind: It was BBC News anchor Huw Edwards. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police of London issued a statement saying that Edwards, who had exchanged money for photographs over a three-year period that began when the other involved party was 17, had not committed a criminal offense, and The Sun would go on to partially retract their story. However, during Edwards' suspension, two more individuals said they were aggressively romantically pursued by the anchor, one of whom said they received hostile text messages after they refused to meet in person. As of September 2023, Edwards remains off the air at the BBC.

Mike Wallace personally and professionally abused his coworkers

With several Peabody Awards and Emmys received over a decades-spanning career, Mike Wallace was one of the most famous, decorated, and impactful TV journalists in history. Beginning his television career in the 1950s, he was one of the original anchors and reporters of "60 Minutes" upon its debut in 1968, and he stayed with the program until 2008, just before his 90th birthday. Wallace filed about 800 segments for the show, many of them unflinching, confrontational interviews with heads of state, barons of industry, and controversial figures. His reports and exposés for CBS News were often damning, exposing corruption in the military, tobacco industry, and sports.

In 2021, nine years after Wallace died, former "60 Minutes" producer Ira Rosen shared what Wallace was like off-camera in his memoir "Ticking Clock" (via the New York Post). According to Rosen, Wallace went after women he outranked in the CBS News offices, frequently slapping them on the rear end and grabbing at their bra straps. He also swiped stories from "60 Minutes" cohorts Morley Safer and Ed Bradley. "Mike would send his producers out to steal a source or a character who was key to a story, and then he would quickly film it before the other correspondent found out," Rosen wrote.

Vic Faust berated his cohost

In 2015, Vic Faust joined the Fox 2 Now news team in St. Louis. Hired as an anchor and reporter, Faust previously served on TV news crews in Columbia, Missouri; St. Joseph, Missouri; Detroit; and provided commentary for syndicated University of Missouri football broadcasts on radio. By 2022, Faust was a co-anchor of 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. weekday news broadcasts and also hosted a morning show for St. Louis radio station KFNS "The Viper" with radio personality Crystal Cooper.

Toward the end of one broadcast in September 2022, Cooper teased Faust about his poor computer skills, as she'd frequently done on the show before. After calling his cohost a "liar" and "stupid," the conversation turned into a fight during an ad break. In surreptitiously recorded audio leaked to local media, Faust can be heard launching into a tirade against Cooper, using profanity more than 40 times and calling her "fat," "nasty," "stupid," "nothing," "trash," and "self-righteous." Then Faust advised Cooper not to return to work in the coming days. Cooper indeed resigned from KFNS, while Faust was fired.

Frank Somerville drove under the influence multiple times

Frank Somerville joined San Francisco's KTVU in 1992, and he'd eventually anchor all the station's weeknight news broadcasts and win three local Emmy Awards. 

That illustrious career wound down in May 2021, however, when a clip of Somerville slurring his words in a news program went viral. Somerville checked into a rehabilitation facility, and later explained that the on-air incident wasn't because of alcohol inebriation, as widely speculated, but because he'd mistakenly ingested two sleeping pills rather than another drug he'd been prescribed. In September 2021, KTVU suspended Somerville after he publicly criticized his employer's handling of the Gabby Petito disappearance and murder. On December 30, 2021, Somerville was arrested after getting drunk at home and then attempting to drive to Taco Bell, during which time he struck another vehicle, fled the scene, and crashed into a pole. Somerville announced in 2022 that he was no longer employed by KTVU.

In March 2023, Somerville told San Francisco station KRON4 that he'd quit using drugs but not alcohol. Three months later, Somerville was arrested on the evening of June 5 after visiting his father's home while intoxicated and engaging in a physical altercation with his brother. After posting bond and being released at 2:20 a.m., Somerville returned to his father's house to get his car and was found sitting in the vehicle, intoxicated again. Police arrested the former anchor once more, on charges of suspicion of driving under the influence and violating his probation.

Ed Henry allegedly assaulted a colleague

After working his way up from radio and print, Ed Henry covered the White House for CNN for seven years, eventually becoming the channel's chief White House correspondent. He moved to Fox News in 2011, occupying the same illustrious position until 2016, when he was moved off that assignment after news of an affair with a Las Vegas server surfaced. Henry switched to the Washington, D.C. general news bureau before being named co-anchor of "America's Newsroom."

On June 25, 2020, Fox News management suspended Henry and hired a law firm to investigate a claim from an ex-employee of the network that the anchor had engaged in misconduct of a sexual nature. A week later, Fox News terminated Henry from his job as an anchor of "America's Newsroom." Following the ouster, a former Fox News associate producer filed suit against Henry, alleging that the anchor had groomed her, persuaded her into a sexual relationship, assaulted her on a Fox News property, and raped her in a hotel, events that left her with bruises, cuts, and other injuries. In response to the suit in his defense, Henry filed documents that included 15 graphic photos of the producer, an act that left the former Fox anchor with an accusation of violating New York state's "revenge porn" laws. Fox News terminated Henry, who later unsuccessfully sued NPR and CNN for defamation for their reporting on his legal issues.

Chris Cuomo violated ethics and allegedly behaved inappropriately toward a coworker

By the time he joined CNN as host of "New Day" in 2013, Chris Cuomo had already worked up a stellar resume. As an investigative reporter and Chief Law and Justice Correspondent for ABC News, Cuomo covered major news events and interviewed major newsmakers, uncovered corporate fraud, and then went on to anchor "20/20" and "Good Morning America." By 2020, Cuomo had become one of CNN's most prolific personalities, anchoring a primetime newscast and headlining the outlet's election coverage.

Documents publicly released in November 2021 indicated that Cuomo had actively assisted his brother, former New York governor Andrew Cuomo, in his defense of sexual harassment allegations. Chris Cuomo reportedly used his journalistic connections to determine what details different news outlets knew about the case. Colluding with public officials would amount to a significant violation of journalistic ethical standards and nonobjective reporting. CNN launched an internal investigation into the manner, and then received word from attorney Debra Katz that a coworker at a previous employer had accused the anchor of sexual misconduct. Among Katz's other clients was an aide to Andrew Cuomo, whose allegations of sexual harassment led in part to the governor's resignation. CNN subsequently fired Chris Cuomo.

Mark Halperin was accused of misconduct by 12 women

Mark Halperin contributed a lot of political analysis for many different media outlets over the first 30 years of his career. A reporter, on-air analyst and correspondent, and then political director for ABC News, Halperin wrote for Time, co-wrote the 2008 presidential election wrap-up "Game Change" (adapted into an Emmy-winning television film for Showtime, home of Halperin's documentary series "The Circus"), and hosted the daily political news show "With All Due Respect" for Bloomberg TV. By 2017, he was working as the senior political analyst for NBC News and a contributor to multiple newscasts on MSNBC.

In October 2017, CNN reported that five women had accused Halperin of sexual assault or harassment dating to his time at ABC News. In the days after that news surfaced, more women came forward with accusations of misconduct. Halperin allegedly violently shoved a woman into a window in an attempt to kiss her against her will and then threatened her with the loss of job prospects, and performed a sex act on himself in front of others, among other actions. Halperin apologized publicly; NBC News terminated his contract.

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).