Fox News is under fire yet again for its allegedly sexist work environment. But women at the old-boy’s network might be a little more understanding if they’d read Happy Housewives, the new self-help book by stay-at-home mom Darla Shine—who is married to Fox News’ number two honcho.
The 39-year-old Shine, whose hubby Bill Shine labors as senior VP for programming at the “fair and balanced” network, says she devised her 10-step guide to domesticated bliss after an ill-fated stint at PBS. Along the way, she discovered “the feminists lied” to her about the joys of the workplace. “Now I am stronger, smarter, older, and more important I am wiser,” she writes. “I now know that there’s absolutely no job more important than being home raising your babies.”
Which is sorta the same message the ladies of Fox News have been getting lately. Earlier this week, Kim Weiler, a 39-year-old former freelance production assistant, teamed up with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to sue the network for fostering a hostile work environment—just over a year after former staffer Andrea Mackris received an estimated $2 million-plus settlement from Bill O’Reilly after going public with charges he’d sexually harassed her. In the suit, Weiler alleges that her ex-boss, network VP Joe Chillemi, “routinely used gross obscenities and vulgarities when describing women or their body parts” and openly admitted to employees “that in choosing who to hire ‘if it came down between a man or a woman, of course I’d pick the man. The woman would most likely get pregnant and leave.’”
Why would a modern-day media exec like Chillemi think his higher-ups at Fox would tolerate such clap-trap? Ask his boss’s wife. In Happy Housewives–under chapter headings like “Please Stop Whining!” and “Get Back in the Kitchen”–Shine says that feminists duped women into believing a professional career is a nobler calling than staying at home with the kids: “I would never dream there could be anything better than being a mother and a wife,” she gushes. “It’s the career of a lifetime.”
It’s worth noting, however, that Shine’s own “career of a lifetime” does leave a little room for work on the side. The producer now hosts a nationally syndicated radio show in addition to writing advice books on how women can please their husbands. (Her own breadwinner, by the way, reportedly leaves their Long Island home before 6 a.m. each day and usually doesn’t return until 10 p.m.) Her publisher, legendary ball-buster Judith Regan (a doting mother of two), also seems to derive at least some satisfaction from running a multi-million-dollar publishing empire—not exactly brat patrol.
Shine did not return e-mails seeking comment.