Back in July, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes stepped down following months of accusations of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior in the workplace.
The conservative news network was sued by Gretchen Carlson, a former on-air personality who claims she was pressured to perform sex acts on Ailes.
Shortly thereafter, longtime legal analyst Greta Van Susteren left Fox, though it's unclear if her decision had anything to do with the allegations against Ailes.
Throughout the scandal, most of Fox's best-known pundits stuck by the network that made them household names, though that doesn't mean they dispute the allegations against Ailes or in any way condone their former boss' behavior.
One of those personalities, Shep Smith, has been with the network since shortly after its inception in 1996.
He says he never considered leaving Fox, even though he was deeply troubled by reports of Ailes' behavior.
In a new interview with the Huffington Post, Smith discusses his feelings toward his fallen mentor, for the first time, tacitly confirms that he's gay:
“It’s such a wonderful place, and it’s been home forever. He was very fatherly and mentorish,” Smith says of Ailes. “And now I know that there were other things going on here.”
Asked if he ever heard Ailes use any anti-gay slurs, Smith responds:
“No, never. He treated me with respect, just respect."
The 52-year-old anchor adds:
“I wasn’t new in the business when I came here ― I’d been doing reporting for 12 years ― but I wasn’t old in it either, and he gave me every opportunity in the world and he never asked anything of me but that we get it right, try to get it right every day.
"It was a very warm and loving and comfortable place.”
Asked about reports that Ailes prevented Smith from coming out publicly, Smith issues the following flat-out denial:
“That’s not true. He was as nice as he could be to me. I loved him like a father. I trusted him with my career and with ― I trusted him and trusts were betrayed.
"People outside this company can’t know [how painful that betrayal was]. This place has its enemies, but inside, it was very personal, and very scarring and horrifying.”
Smith adds that rather than shying away from the truth about Ailes, he hopes his colleagues at Fox will learn from their disgraced leader's example.
Smith has been named as one of the most powerful gay men in the country by Out magazine, but he has never formally come out to the public.