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Fox News’ Shepard Smith comes out — and defends Roger Ailes at the same time

Fox News’ Shepard Smith is officially an out gay man, though the way he publicly announced his sexual orientation is about as low-key as it gets.

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It probably helps that it’s been public knowledge for years that Smith is gay. Though he never said it himself, he never denied reports that he was gay, and he’s been a recurring member of Out magazine’s “Power 50” list for years.

Still, what made him finally publicly acknowledge his sexual orientation was the sex scandal surrounding Fox News exec Roger Ailes, who has been accused by a growing number of former and current Fox employees of sexual harassment. Smith weighed in when reports started circulating that Ailes, as his boss, had told him not to publicly come out.

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“That’s not true. He was as nice as he could be to me. I loved him like a father,” Smith wrote for Huffington Post. “He was very fatherly and mentorish… I wasn’t new in the business when I came here ? I’d been doing reporting for 12 years ? but I wasn’t old in it either, and he gave me every opportunity in the world and he never asked anything of me but that we get it right, try to get it right every day. It was a very warm and loving and comfortable place.”

Ailes has also been accused of using anti-gay slurs in the workplace, and Smith denied that too.

“He treated me with respect, just respect,” Smith said.

Smith also spoke out about how the scandal has affected him, saying, “I trusted him and trusts were betrayed. People outside this company can’t know [how painful that betrayal was]. This place has its enemies, but inside, it was very personal, and very scarring and horrifying.”

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