Former Fox News anchor Shepard Smith announced that he will personally donate $500,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists in his first public remarks since resigning from his longtime news organization.
“Intimidation and vilification of the press is now a global phenomenon. We don’t have to look far for evidence of that,” Smith said at the group’s annual International Press Freedom Awards in New York, The New York Times reported. The nonprofit organization works to guard press freedoms around the world.
The crowd, made up of reporters, editors and media executives, gave Smith a standing ovation after his announcement, according to the paper.
The dinner recognized journalists who reported in Brazil, India, Nicaragua and Tanzania, despite intimidation and government oppression. Smith served as emcee, and, although he did not mention Trump by name, he appeared to jab the president in his remarks, the news source reported.
“Our belief a decade ago that the online revolution would liberate us now seems a bit premature, doesn’t it?” Smith said. “Autocrats have learned how to use those same online tools to shore up their power. They flood the world of information with garbage and lies, masquerading as news. There’s a phrase for that.”
Trump frequently criticized Smith, calling him Fox News’s “lowest-rated anchor.” Smith also called out the White House on air multiple times.
Smith was also sometime at odds with figures at Fox News, including its 8 p.m. host Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonButtigieg aims to use Tucker Carlson flap to spotlight paternity leave Biden's safe-space CNN town hall attracts small audience, as poll numbers plummet Country star Travis Tritt canceling shows at sites with mandates MORE.
Smith also called for journalists to stand together to guard press freedoms in his Thursday remarks.
“We know that journalists are sometimes wary of being perceived as activists for some cause,” he said. “But press freedom is not the preserve of one political group or one political party. It’s a value embedded in our very foundational documents. Journalists need to join hands to defend it.”
Smith was employed by Fox News for 23 years. He was part of its founding staff in 1996.