Fox uses Trump's 'pussy grabbing tapes to teach employees about harassment'

'There was an audible gasp in the room, like, 'Can you believe this is happening?' Trump was defended on Fox News after that tape came out,' says employee

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The Independent US

Fox has reportedly been using Donald Trump’s infamous “pussy grabbing” audio recordings to teach people about harassment in the workplace.

A 21st Century Fox employee said there was an “audible gasp” in the room after the media company broadcast the president’s widely condemned Access Hollywood conversation with Billy Bush which was leaked last Autumn.

According to the employee, towards the end of a one-hour seminar last Tuesday, a photo appeared on the big screen which included President Trump, Bush, and actor Arianne Zucker from the 2005 Access Hollywood tape.

In the widely-circled footage she is referring to, Mr Trump can be heard bragging about groping and making unwanted advances on women. Speaking to Access Hollywood host Bush, Mr Trump boasts about making a pass at a married woman before noticing the soap opera actress Arianne Zucker who he then lewdly objectifies.

“I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her," Mr Trump said. "You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful – I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything […] Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything".

After the Access Hollywood footage was unearthed, Mr Trump initially attempted to dismiss the obscene and degrading comments as nothing more than "locker room" banter but later issued a scripted 90-second long apology for the remarks. Nevertheless, when probed about the comments during the second presidential debate, Mr Trump repeatedly described them as “locker room talk”. 

According to the Hollywood Reporter, 21st Century Fox, a network which has been criticised for its overly favourable coverage of Mr Trump, has been using the leaked tapes in seminars for the past few months. The seminars are said to be led by a human resources executive with a focus on preventing harassment, discrimination and retaliation at work. 

"They went through the scenario of the tape, why it was harassment and why it's something you should report," the employee explained.  "There was an audible gasp in the room, like, 'Can you believe this is happening?' Trump was defended on Fox News after that tape came out.... Someone joked about getting fired for harassment and wondering if the defence could be, 'We were only told a behaviour was bad once in a seminar,' but Fox News said it was 'just locker room talk' over and over again." 

A number of popular Fox News personalities, including Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro, defended Trump in the wake of the leaked tape. What’s more, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes was forced to resign last summer after fellow Fox  anchor Gretchen Carlson, filed a lawsuit against Mr Ailes, alleging that he did not renew her contract after she refused sexual advances from him. Carlson and others alleged that Mr Ailes engaged in a pattern of workplace harassment.  

A recent New York Times exposé reported lead Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly and his employer had paid five women $13 million to settle allegations of sexual harassment or other inappropriate conduct by Fox News' highest rated host. 

According to the unnamed employee, a human resources executive joked during the harassment seminar that the department handled all of Fox except Fox News, so the presentation could not include any information about Mr Ailes or Mr O'Reilly. 

A Fox spokesperson declined to comment on whether Mr Trump was included in the harassment presentation.

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