One of the more tantalizing mysteries in the media world is the ouster of a 17-year veteran of Fox News.
That’s Brian Lewis, on the left — often called Fox News chief Roger Ailes’ right hand man. (Via The Hollywood Reporter)
Lewis was Fox News’ PR chief, who Politico’s Dylan Byers says worked “with infamous zeal and unwavering loyalty.”
But Fox News has confirmed after an internal audit found “financial irregularities,” Roger Ailes fired Lewis and had him escorted out of the building. (Via Hoover Institution)
Media-watchers are finding the seemingly-abrupt termination hard to believe. Here’s how the LA Times’ Joe Flint characterizes Ailes’ relationship with Lewis:
“...so close that it could withstand the occasional shouting match between the two. Lewis was known for being unafraid to challenge Ailes…”
On the other hand though, New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman is less surprised, writing he ran into Lewis last year in North Carolina and had gotten the impression cracks were already beginning to form in the relationship.
So what really happened? A network statement says in addition to those mysterious “financial irregularities” — there were “significant breaches” of Lewis’ employment contract. No additional details — and in that vacuum — speculation.
NPR’s David Folkenflik tweeted:
“Ailes ... operates loyalty based economy & has tolerated misbehavior. Brian Lewis' ‘breaches’ may well be perceived disloyalty.”