A Fox News anchor says she was fired for refusing the sexual advances of Fox News boss Roger Ailes. Gretchen Carlson, a former “Fox & Friends” co-host who recently has been hosting the daytime program “The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson,” reportedly filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Carlson alleges in the suit that she was fired June 23 from Fox News as retaliation for rejecting Ailes’ sexual advances. Ailes is the chairman and CEO of Fox News.
“The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in New Jersey Superior Court, states that her contract expired, and that despite working at Fox News for 11 years and being the host of a show that was leading in its afternoon time slot, she was unfairly terminated as the result of events much earlier,” THR reports.
Carlson reportedly complained during her time on “Fox & Friends” that she was being sexually harassed by co-host Steve Doocy.
The new complaint says in part: “When Carlson met with Ailes to discuss the discriminatory treatment to which she was being subjected, Ailes stated: ‘I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better,’ adding that ‘sometimes problems are easier to solve’ that way. Carlson rebuffed Ailes’ sexual demands at that meeting, and nine months later, Ailes ended her career at Fox News.”
Here’s Ailes’ response, per Fox News: “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.”
Carlson confirmed today on her Twitter account that she is no longer with the network. She also posted a statement saying: “I have strived to empower women and girls throughout my entire career. 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. I am extremely proud of my accomplishments at Fox News and for keeping our loyal viewers engaged and informed on events and news topics of the day.”