Brian Lewis was formerly the vice president of Fox News until his 2013 firing. Lewis, 58, was hired by Fox News CEO Roger Ailes upon the founding of the conservative news network in 1996.
Lewis left the network under a cloud in 2013 following allegations of financial irregularities. During his time at Fox News, Lewis had been considered as Ailes’ right-hand man and one of his top lieutenants. Lewis was hired by Fox News first in media relations, then he became a senior vp in 2000 and an executive vp in 2006.
In the 2019 Showtime miniseries, “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” based on a biography about Ailes of the same title, Brian Lewis is played by “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane. On Showtime’s website, MacFarlane’s character is described as “A brash young executive whom Roger poaches to head up PR at Fox News, Brian Lewis is an eager participant in Roger’s vision of what Fox News Channel should be. Fully embracing Roger’s dictum to “let PR be the engine of Fox News Channel,” Brian uses the dark arts of PR to further Roger’s every demand.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Lewis Is Reported to Have Been Paid $8 Million in ‘Hush Money’ Upon His Firing
Five months after Lewis’ July 2013 firing, Gawker reported that he had been paid $8 million in “hush money.”
A quote attributed to Lewis’ attorney, Judd Burstein, by <a href="https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/brian-lewis-lawyer-roger-ailes-615056” target=”_blank”>the Hollywood Reporter read, “I have just been retained and am still plotting our course of action. But two things are very clear to me. First, Brian Lewis no longer has any confidentiality obligation to Newscorp [sic] or Roger Ailes because of the false and malicious statements made by Fox to date. Second, Roger Ailes and Newscorp [sic] have a lot more to fear from Brian Lewis telling the truth about them than Brian Lewis has to fear from Roger Ailes and his toadies telling lies about Brian Lewis.”
2. The Hollywood Reporter Alleged that Lewis Was Fired Over His Collaboration With ‘Loudest Voice in the Room’ Writer Gabe Sherman
The Hollywood Reporter said in July 2013 that Lewis had been fired over “financial irregularities” as well as “multiple, material and significant breaches of his employment contract.” Later, the Reporter said that Lewis was alleged to have helped “Gabe Sherman a little bit too much with his upcoming, unauthorized biography of Ailes.”
A Fox News source told Gawker, “That whole financial impropriety thing was complete bulls***. Everything was about Gabe Sherman.” Fox denied the Gawker story and called their reporting “materially wrong.” In a statement to TVNewser upon his firing, Lewis said, “There has been rampant speculation surrounding my departure from Fox that I am not addressing at this time. I will say it has been an honor and privilege to work for Roger Ailes the past 20 years and I wish nothing but the best for him and the great people at Fox News.”
3. Lewis Is Married to Wife Susan Lampasona, the Couple Has 2 Daughters Together
Lewis is married to wife Susan Lampasona. The couple lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey. They have two daughters together.
Lewis is a native of Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of St. John’s United and a Master’s graduate from Fairleigh Dickinson University, where he studied Organizational Communications. One profile says that Lewis has also worked as an adjunct professor at his alma-mater.
His first public relations job was with the New York Arrows soccer team. During his time at Fox News, Lewis was accused of once freezing out the New York Daily News from receving comment from Fox News.
4. Megyn Kelly Says She Went to Lewis in 2012 to Complain About the Culture at Fox News
Former Fox News and NBC host Megyn Kelly had gone to Brian Lewis in 2012 to complain about incidents that had occurred while she was at Fox, Vanity Fair reported in September 2016. Gabe Sherman wrote in “The Loudest Voice in the Room” that Lewis’ attempts to intervene with Ailes’ behavior were unsuccessful.
An excerpt from the book, published by Slate, alleges that Ailes’ longtime assistant, Judy Laterza, convinced Ailes to fire Lewis over the attempted intervention.
5. Seth MacFarlane Says Fox Bosses Had No Issues With His Portrayal of Brian Lewis
Seth MacFarlane was announced as playing Lewis in October 2018. On the day that “The Loudest Voice in the Room” aired, the “Family Guy” creator told NBC’s “Today,” As a courtesy, I did call my friends up there in Murdochland (sic) and said, ‘I just want to let you know I’m doing this,’ and they said, ‘This sounds great, sounds like a great show. I’m sure it’s gonna be cool, I’m sure you’ll be great in it.”
“Family Guy” airs on the Fox Network. MacFarlane told Willie Geist, “On a day-to-day basis, it’s very civil, and look, I’ve worked with them for years.” Although MacFarlane did go on to describe Fox News as “a massively irresponsible operation.”
An early New Yorker review of MacFarlane’s performance referred to him as constituting “a special achievement in smirking.”