Someone claimed there were bed bugs in the VIP couch at Fox News’s Manhattan studios in November of 2006. After we followed up, the source claimed she was told this by a Fox producer. That sounded plausible enough, but still, just a rumor.
Now a Fox executive has told the New York Times that they just recently discovered they had bed bugs in their newsroom, that they have been treated and are gone:
In an interview on Monday, Warren Vandeveer, senior vice president for operations and engineering at Fox News, said the cable channel had realized it had a problem a few weeks ago, when an employee “caught a bug and showed it to us.” An exterminator determined that the incursion was limited to a “very small area in the newsroom.”
The NYTimes claims Vanderveer told them that the problem was discovered “a few weeks ago,” the exterminator’s treatment ended “about a week ago,” and the bed bugs are now “totally eradicated.” If that timeline of detection and treatment is accurate, many experts might say it is too soon to say for sure that the problem is “totally eradicated.”
As for how long ago Fox has had a bed bug problem, is it true that bed bugs only first appeared in the Fox newsroom “a few weeks ago”? Or were they only first verified then? Were they also there in November 2007 as per TVNewer’s tip? (TVNewser claimed the newsroom was getting pest control treatment last November.) Did TVNewser get faulty information? And were any bed bugs in Fox News in November 2006 as Claudia’s source claimed?
If the 2006 and/or 2007 rumors of bed bugs at Fox were incorrect, it’s a pretty big coincidence that the only station that we’ve heard rumored to be infested with bed bugs — twice — later became infested with bed bugs.
Vanderveer also apparently told the New York Times that
. . . the source of the bugs was not determined until the exterminator inspected the homes of about 20 employees. Mr. Vandeveer said the exterminator later described one employee’s home as having “the worst infestation he had seen in 25 years in the business.”
This raised all kinds of questions in my mind, but foremost in my mind is this one: did Fox insist all newsroom employees had their homes searched, or did they volunteer?
Finding that one employee has a serious, serious bed bug infestation may seem like a smoking gun to Fox, but it actually doesn’t in itself prove the employee brought them in to work (rather than someone else doing so). I grant that it is highly likely.
But still: what if the home where bed bugs was found was not the worst case PCOs had found in 25 years? In that hypothetical case, would it be fair to link bed bugs to an employee whose home was found to have them? What kind of evidence is needed to verify such a connection? Even if every company employee’s home was searched, which does not seem to be the case here, could such a connection be proven?
This is the second time we’ve heard an employee was allegedly fired for bringing bed bugs to work. The first we heard of was at Cadwalader.
I am very glad for those who work at Fox that the bed bug infestation was detected and treated. I hope that the treatment which began only a few weeks ago continues until everyone really is certain.