A former Fox television producer shot himself dead on the front steps of News Corp headquarters in Midtown Manhattan. Phillip Perea, who was found slumped over with a gunshot wound to his chest around 9 a.m. on January 26, claimed the network had ruined his life.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Before the Suicide, Perea Handed Out Cards Saying ‘FOX News Ended My Career’
The Wall Street Journal reports that Perea, 41, pulled the trigger on himself just after handing out business cards reading, “The American Workplace Bully: How FOX News ended my career.”
Perea was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Kris Lew, who operates a coffee cart close to the Fox News building, told the Daily News he heard “‘pop pop!’ Just like that.” A suicide note was found next to Perea’s body.
2. He Posted Secretly Recorded Workplace Conversations on YouTube
The New York Post reports that Perea had been an employee of Fox’s Austin affiliate, KTBC. He worked as a promotion producer for the station’s news programming. In June 2014 he was suspended from his job after working at the station for just 10 months. Previously, he worked the Seattle Fox affiliate. In 2006, he was nominated for a local Emmy.
In recent months Perea posted a series of videos about Fox News on YouTube. You can watch the whole series here. In one of those videos, a secretly recorded conversation, Perea’s former boss tells the producer that his co-workers were scared of him. In the final of his series of videos, Perea says, “2014 was the worst year of my life. It’s time for Fox News to have the worst year of its existence.”
3. He Posted a Barrage of Tweets Accusing Fox of Bullying
In a series of tweets that Perea sent out in the days leading up to his suicide, he posted claims of bullying at Fox. In one tweet directed at Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, he asked, “Are you not committed to the truth?” Another read, “Left right secular or Christian, it didn’t matter. Those who had the power to make a difference never listened.” All of the tweets were accompanied by the hashtag, “#theamericanworkplacebully.”
His final tweet came around 7 a.m. on the day he was found dead:
4. He Took Heat for Making the Police Chief Look ‘Like a Buffoon’
The Austin Chronicle reported that Perea was suspended for using inappropriate language and not following instructions. The suspension also came after Perea took heat for juxtaposing a flippant-looking photo of the local police chief with a picture of a crying woman. The montage was a Facebook promotion for coverage of a jaywalking arrest that led to cries of police brutality. You can watch a report the arrest above.
Perea supplied the Chronicle with a purported recording of the station’s general manager (hear the recording above in Fact 2) saying the chief “was so offended by that [photo], that we’re on the outs. He won’t come on our station anymore.” The Chronicle’s report on Perea’s suicide says that in June he contacted the paper looking to expose the “quid pro quo dynamic between Fox 7 and” Police Chief Art Acevedo. He also told the paper, “My career is over. I have nothing left to lose.”
5. The News of the Shooting Was Broken by Geraldo
The news of the shooting was first broken by Fox talking head Geraldo Rivera: