Yesterday, former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson formally accused Roger Ailes of being a 76-year-old overly-aggressive pervert. She filed a sexual harassment lawsuit in New Jersey Superior Court. But just hours later, nearly a dozen other women came out of the woodwork, pointing their fingers at the conservative propagandist.
The revelation was reported Wednesday afternoon by CNN’s Brian Stelter. “I just spoke with one of the attorneys involved in Carlson’s suit,” he said in a video uploaded online by Media Matters. He noted the women reached out to Carlson’s attorneys “because they say they also have stories to share about treatment by Roger Ailes.”
After noting that the women who reached out to Carlson’s attorneys were not joining Carlson’s suit at this time, Mr. Stelter reflected on what was at the time a failure by Ailes or by Fox News to address Carlson’s accusations.
“This is a story that could have big ramifications for Fox News because Ailes has been in charge ever since it launched. You could say he rules the network with an iron fist. And he is beloved by a lot of staffers there, but he is not known for being politically correct.”
It wasn’t until after the story of Ms. Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit had been out for a while that Mr. Ailes and 21st Century Fox issued statements. Fox stated they are conducting “an internal review” of Carlson’s allegations against both Mr. Ailes and Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy. Mr. Ailes’ statement was more direct, however.
“Gretchen Carlson’s allegations are false. This is a retaliatory suit for the network’s decision not to renew her contract, which was due to the fact that her disappointingly low ratings were dragging down the afternoon lineup. When Fox News did not commence any negotiations to renew her contract, Ms. Carlson became aware that her career with the network was likely over and conveniently began to pursue a lawsuit. Ironically, Fox News provided her more on-air opportunities over her 11-year tenure than any other employer in the industry, for which she thanked me in her recent book. This defamatory lawsuit is not only offensive, it is wholly without merit and will be defended vigorously.”
I hate to say it, but Mr. Ailes has a point. It is pretty convenient that Ms. Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit manifests after the network decided not to resign her. At the same time, however, it’s not like Roger Ailes hasn’t been accused of sexual harassment before. Unfortunately, the timing of Carlson’s lawsuit complicates it, placing at least a little bit of skepticism. It’s not like disgruntled former employees haven’t unjustly accused their bosses of sexual harassment before.
This writer is reserving his judgement on whether or not Mr. Ailes is guilty of sexually harassing Gretchen Carlson and refusing to renew her contract because he was butt-hurt she rejected him. However, this writer is not reserving judgement on Mr. Ailes himself, since it is well-documented that he is a slithering right-wing propagandist lungfish who wouldn’t know journalistic integrity if it ate the 56 pounds of Cheerios lodged in his duodenum out of him.
h/t Raw Story