- Ivory Hecker was fired from her reporting role at a local Fox affiliate on Tuesday following an on-air stunt.
- Hecker sat down with Project Veritas, a far-right group claiming to “investigate and expose corruption.”
- Hecker accused her former employers of “muzzling” her stories about hydroxychloroquine.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A reporter with Houston’s Fox News affiliate, who interrupted a live report about the weather to accuse her employers of “muzzling” her, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that she was fired as a result.
Ivory Hecker, a former general assignment reporter and fill-in anchor with Fox 26 Houston, went viral on Monday after announcing live on-air that she would be going to the far-right group Project Veritas with recordings from “behind the scenes at Fox.”
“Before we get to that story, I want to let you, the viewers, know that Fox Corp. has been muzzling me to keep certain information from you, the viewer,” Hecker, 32, said at the start of a live shot on Monday. “From what I am gathering, I am not the only reporter being subjected to this.”
In a Tuesday morning phone call, a recording of which was provided to Project Veritas, Hecker was suspended from her role “effective immediately, pending review.” But Hecker told The Beast that she was terminated shortly after that call.
The station confirmed to the outlet that Hecker had been terminated.
“FOX 26 adheres to the highest editorial standards of accuracy and impartiality,” a Fox 26 spokesperson told The Beast. “This incident involves nothing more than a disgruntled former employee seeking publicity by promoting a false narrative produced through selective editing and misrepresentation.”
In a follow-up interview with The Beast, Hecker said she had “been longing” to part ways with Fox Corp., which she described as “strange” and “slightly unhinged,” since last August when she “realized what they were.”
“Fox 26 knows I’m fearless,” she told the outlet. “I have zero interest in working for another corporation. They all toe the same line.”
A representative for Hecker did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Later on Tuesday, Hecker, through Project Veritas, released the videos and recordings she had previously referred to, which she said show her station censoring stories about doctors who promoted the use of hydroxychloroquine.
According to Hecker, she was sent on assignment to cover a local hospital and how they were covering COVID-19. Once there, she said the hospital’s chief confirmed they had used the controversial malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus patients.
In one of the videos, Fox 26’s vice president and news director Susan Schiller tells Hecker that she needs to “cease and desist” her posting about the drug.
Other videos secretly recorded by Hecker show Fox 26 assistant news director, Lee Meier, explaining why she might “pass” on certain stories.
“I have passed on bitcoin stories by almost every single reporter for our 5:00 audience, because that’s not our 5:00 audience,” Meier said. “So, there are lots of reasons. If I know our numbers are tanking from five to six and in one particular segment… I may say, yeah, and bitcoin for poor African-American audience at five, it’s probably not going to play. That’s a choice I’m making.”
Fox 26 did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Project Veritas has a controversial record. The far-right group claims its aim is to “investigate and expose corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud, and other misconduct in both public and private institutions in order to achieve a more ethical and transparent society.”
The group is most well known for its “sting” operations targeting other media outlets. In 2017, Insider reported that O’Keefe attempted but failed to discredit The Washington Post by having one of the organization’s employees pretend to be a victim of sexual assault.
Project Veritas did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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