Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Stan Greene
Observer Staff Writer 

Gretchen Carlson Alleges Roger Ailes, 76, Sexually Harassed her

Ailes, 76 ogled her, commented about her legs, urged her to wear clothes, told her she was sexy but "too much hard work."


Andrew Toth/Getty Images

Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson has filed a lawsuit against the CEO and Chairman of Fox News, Roger Ailes, for sexual harassment and retaliation.

NEW YORK - Former Fox News Channel anchor Gretchen Carlson sued network chief executive Roger Ailes on Wednesday, claiming FOX fired after she turned down his sexual advances. Ms. Carlson's lawyers filed the Complaint in Superior Court in New Jersey's Bergen County.

Carlson is former host of a daytime show at Fox. She alleges Ailes had retaliated against her because of complaints she had made about discrimination and harassment. The 11-year Fox employee was anchoring a 2 p.m. show when she said she was fired on June 23 at the end of her contract.

She said her firing came nine months after Ailes told her during a meeting that "you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago."

In response, FOX News Chairman & CEO Roger Ailes issued the following statement: “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 with 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.”

The 50-year-old Carlson was Miss America in 1989. She alleges in her lawsuit that Ailes, who is 76, ogled her, repeatedly commented about her legs, urged her to wear clothes that enhanced her figure and told her she was sexy but "too much hard work."

Carlson alleges that in 2013, she was fired from her job hosting morning show "Fox and Friends", and her pay reduced with the transfer to a daytime slot, because she had complained about sexual harassment.

She said that one of her "Fox & Friends" co-hosts, Steve Doocy, "had created a hostile work environment by regularly treating her in a sexist and condescending way." She said that when Ailes heard of her complaints, he called her a "man hater" who needed to learn to "get along with the boys."

Andrew Toth/Getty Images

Television Producer Roger Ailes attends the Carnegie Hall 125th Season Opening Night Gala at Carnegie Hall on October 7, 2015 in New York City.

Carlson said that Ailes retaliated against her by cutting back on political interviews, and by ending a regular appearance she had been making on Bill O'Reilly's prime-time program, generally Fox's highest-rated show. BTW, O'Reilly himself has been on the receiving end of sexual harassment allegations

"I have strived to empower women and girls throughout my entire career," Carlson said in a statement. "Although this was a difficult step to take, I had to stand up for myself and speak out for all women and the next generation of women in the workplace."

Two days after the June 12 Orlando, Florida, nightclub massacre, Carlson told viewers that she supported reinstating a ban on assault weapons. The next day, she revealed Fox viewers had profanely attacked her, and she read some of the less obscene responses on the air.

The lawsuit demands damages in an amount to be determined at time of trial, but not to exceed the jurisdictional limits of this court.


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