We keep hearing more from people who once worked with Fox News writer Don Broderick. Even before he was accused of dragging a cyclist through Central Park, former colleagues tell us, co-workers were afraid to be around him.
We've already reported on an incident roughly 10 years ago in which Broderick was suspended for throwing a punch at a male co-worker. Now, we've learned of another newsroom blow-up, dating to 2002, which resulted in another suspension and anger-management classes.
"He's a creep and a bully," says one of three former Fox Newsers who spoke to Gawker. "He really is crazy. People are frightened to turn their backs to him. The fact that he still works there is mind-boggling."
Neither Broderick nor Fox News returned calls for comment.
In the 2002 incident, according to two of our sources, Broderick screamed at a young female production assistant and threatened to "tear [her] fucking head off" after she briefly couldn't find a piece of tape he wanted. The incident began when the PA told Broderick, using Fox's internal text-messaging system, that she couldn't locate some video that he needed for a piece he was writing. She quickly found it, and messaged him to let him know. His response: "Don't ever lie to me again. Next time I'll tear your fucking head off."
Freaked out, the PA printed out the bizarre, threatening message and showed it to a supervisor. Not long after, according to a former Fox Newser who witnessed part of the confrontation, Broderick approached the PA in the crowded newsroom, clutching a print-out of the offending text message, and "cornered her."
"He started screaming, accusing her of lying to him and saying she was lucky because he only said he was going to tear her fucking head off," the source says. "He continued to shout many other threats and expletives. A supervisor had to pull him back and restrain him." The cornered PA began crying, the source said, and Broderick got into a screaming match with another supervisor who intervened.
Broderick was suspended for five days—with pay—over the incident, and took anger management classes. According to two people who worked with him, another female Fox News employee complained about Broderick to Fox's human resources department after another troubling incident about three years after he allegedly threatened the PA. They weren't sure of the details of that accusation. But combined with Broderick's alleged attempted assault on a fellow newsroom employee ten years ago and his threat to tear a PA's head off, it would make at least three complaints to human resources about his workplace behavior in his decade-plus tenure at Fox.
One former Fox Newser says behavior like Broderick's was routinely tolerated in the militaristic, macho culture engineered by Roger Ailes, which prizes belligerence and casts people who complain about being screamed at by their bosses as pussies. "It's not a friendly environment," the source said. "The men bully the women around because they know they can get away with it." With newsroom bigwigs like Bill O'Reilly shrieking at and allegedly sexually harrassing female employees as a matter of course, Broderick's alleged behavior was smallball.
Still, how Broderick has last so long at the network given his outbursts and suspensions puzzles many of the former co-workers we spoke to. He used to be a producer, according to one source, but was switched to a job writing copy for the teleprompters, which amounts to a demotion, years ago.
Even more puzzling is how Broderick managed to get the New York press license plates that were on his car when he allegedly rammed cyclist Brian Dooda in Central Park. The plates, which allow the vehicle to park in special zones throughout the city and avoid parking tickets, require a letter from the applicant's employer stating a bona fide reason that the employee needs them.
"How did he get those press plates?" a source says. "He's a writer. He never goes out on a story. He sits at a desk all day."
NOTE: This post was updated to correct the date of Broderick's alleged encounter with the production assistant.