Shepard Smith, one of the Fox News’s longest-serving anchors and a member of the founding team, announced his resignation Friday.
“Recently, I asked the company to allow me to leave,” Mr. Smith said in his address on TV. “After requesting that I stay, they obliged.”
In recent years, Smith gained notoriety for critical views of US President Trump, repeatedly becoming a target of criticism by the president, who tweeted that the anchor might be a better fit with CNN – a media organization Trump has frequently accused of espousing a liberal agenda.
A New York Times report says Smith resigned halfway through a recent multi-year contract signed in 2018, which sparked rumours that Trump’s cozy relationship with Fox owner Rupert Murodch could have facilitated his exit – a notion rejected by Chris Giglio, a spokesman for the anchor.
“There is absolutely no truth” to a connection between the two events, he said in an email, according to the Times. “This was Shep’s decision and his alone.”
In his address, Smith said he struck a non-competition agreement with Fox, under which he won’t be reporting anywhere “at least in the nearest future.”
Smith was a member of the Fox News founding team when the network was created in 1996, the Times noted.
“Even in our currently polarized nation, it’s my hope that the facts will win the day,” Smith said in his exit statement to the press, adding “That the truth will always matter. That journalism and journalists will thrive.”