UPDATED with harassment claims and attorney statement: Former ESPN exec and Today GM Jamie Horowitz was ousted today as President of National Networks at Fox Sports, believed to be due to harassment charges that his lawyer says the exec will contest.
In a memo to staffers obtained by Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand, Fox Sports President Eric Shanks suggests that Horowitz behaved unprofessionally. He says that everyone at the company “should act with respect and adhere to professional conduct at all times. These values are non-negotiable.”
Horowitz’s lawyer, Glaser Weil’s Patricia Glaser — whose client list has included Keith Olbermann — says that the “way Jamie has been treated by Fox is appalling. At no point in his tenure was there any mention by his superiors or human resources of any misconduct or an inability to adhere to professional conduct. Jamie was hired by Fox to do a job, a job that until today he has performed in an exemplary fashion. Any slanderous accusations to the contrary will be vigorously defended.”
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Horowitz moved to Fox in 2015 to oversee programming, marketing and scheduling for Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 and supervise management and development of original programming and day-to-day operations for Fox Sports 1’s news and studio programs.
For now, Shanks says he is “stepping in to handle [Horowitz’s] former responsibilities including programming, marketing and scheduling for FS1 and FS2, as well as digital.”
Today’s announcement follows several major changes at Fox Sports, including the cut last week of about 20 writing and editing positions at FoxSports.com. The company planned to replace them with video producers.
“Creating compelling sports video content is what we do best at Fox Sports,” Horowitz told staffers in a memo that Bloomberg reported. “We will be shifting our resources and business model away from written content and instead focus on our fans’ growing appetite for premium video across all platforms.”
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