“In Memoriam” montages at the Emmys are meant to celebrate the careers of beloved figures in the television industry who had passed away over the previous year. While the montage at the 2017 Emmys featured the likes of Mary Tyler Moore, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds, it also contained a tribute to Roger Ailes, the Fox News chief who had reportedly sexually harassed at least 20 women over his tenure at the network. Thus, the Emmys memorializing of him understandably caused a great amount of outrage among viewers.
Ailes passed away at 77 years of age after playing a significant role in making Fox News into the most watched cable news channel in the United States. Almost one year prior to his death, he resigned from his position at the network amid several sexual harassment accusations.
21st Century Fox disclosed that it had paid $45 million in costs “related to settlements of pending and potential litigations” regarding Ailes and his sexual harassment allegations. This included a $20 million settlement to former Fox and Friends host Gretchen Carlson after she accused Ailes of sexual harassment. After Carlson’s allegations were made public, over 20 other women came out and also accused Ailes of sexual harassment, accusations which spanned decades.
Adding to the controversy, viewers were displeased to see that Ailes was memorialized over the likes of Charlie Murphy, Frank Vincent, Harry Dean Stanton, and others who were excluded from the montage. [Editor’s Note: as Stanton passed away only two days before the ceremony, his death likely happened too recently for the montage to be edited to include him.]
Viewers took to Twitter to publicize their outrage.
Roger Ailes was included in the "In Memoriam" tribute because of his lifetime of achievement as a producer of racism. #EMMY2017
— Andy Kindler (@AndyKindler) September 18, 2017
Beyond shocked Emmy's would honor Ailes in memoriam. What message does it send to women (and men)?
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) September 18, 2017
— Jen Siebel Newsom (@JenSiebelNewsom) September 18, 2017
Don't sell him short. There was also the sexism, the sexual harassment, the black ops, the toxic perversion of fact… https://t.co/2OGP6Z5BTj
— Kim Masters (@kimmasters) September 18, 2017
— Krystina (@kjb27) September 18, 2017
When Roger Ailes gets prominent billing in the In Memoriam montage. pic.twitter.com/xRpcNwHBRB
— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) September 18, 2017
Roger Ailes is probably the person most responsible for the current toxicity of our political landscape. #Emmys shouldn't have honored him.
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) September 18, 2017
“In Memoriam” tributes do typically cause some level of controversy, but the Emmys’ tribute to Roger Ailes has taken that to a new level.
[via Huffington Post]