×

Gretchen Carlson Files Sexual-Harassment Suit Against Fox News Chief Roger Ailes

Gretchen Carlson, a longtime presence on Fox News Channel, said Wednesday she had filed a lawsuit alleging the top executive at the network, Roger Ailes, made sexual advances on her and ended her career at the 21st Century Fox-owned outlet after she rebuffed him.

A Fox News Channel spokesperson could not be reached for immediate comment.

Carlson, who was a co-anchor at “Fox & Friends” and who more recently anchored a daytime program, “The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson,” alleged in the lawsuit, filed in Superior Court of New Jersey, that she was removed from “Fox & Friends” in 2013 after she complained about behavior by co-host Steve Doocy, and was moved to an afternoon program as a way to diminish her presence at the network. Carlson alleged she was terminated on June 23 after her current contract elapsed.

“We believe that the evidence will confirm that Gretchen was fired from ‘Fox & Friends’ for speaking up about demeaning and discriminatory behavior on and off the set,” said Nancy Erika Smith, an employment litigator at Smith Mullin P.C., a Montclair, N.J., firm that is representing Carlson, in a prepared statement.

Carlson confirmed via Twitter that she is no longer with the network, which she joined in June 2005.

“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,” Carlson said in a statement. “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.”

The lawsuit threatens to draw more scrutiny to the most-watched TV-news network on cable, which has made headlines in recent months for the role it has played during the current election cycle. Fox News has battled with Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican candidate for U.S. president, and garnered attention for the way in which another prominent female anchor, Megyn Kelly, has drawn his ire during a televised debate among that party’s candidates. Allegations of a sexually charged environment at Fox News have surfaced in the past, such as in the recent Gabriel Sherman book, “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” an account of how Ailes built Fox News.

Carlson alleged she was fired after rebuking sexual advances by Ailes and after trying to challenge the way that male colleagues treated her. She alleged that Ailes propositioned her sexually after she met with him last September to discuss discriminatory treatment. In one of the most inflammatory accusations, Carlson alleged Ailes told her, “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. The lawsuit contends that in retaliation for Carlson’s complaints about the alleged harassment and discrimination, Ailes denied her “fair compensation, desirable assignments and other career-enhancing opportunities,” before eventually terminating her employment.

The lawsuit also cites alleged incidents involving Doocy, who allegedly “engaged in a pattern of severe and pervasive sexual harassment of Carlson, including, but not limited to, mocking her during commercial breaks, shunning her off air, refusing to engage with her on air, belittling her contributions to the show and generally attempting to put her in her place,” according to the suit.

In response to learning of Carlson’s complaints, Carlson’s lawsuit alleges, Ailes purportedly responded by calling Carlson a “man hater” and telling her she needed to learn to “get along with the boys.”

The lawsuit cites examples of Ailes’ alleged sexual and sexist comments, including claims that Ailes engaged in “ogling Carlson in his office and asking her to turn around so he could view her posterior,” “commenting repeatedly about Carlson’s legs,” and “claiming that Carlson saw everything as if it ‘only rains on women’ and admonishing her to stop worrying about being treated equally and ‘getting offended so God damn easy about everything.'”

More TV

  • Love Island - Pictured: Kyra Green,

    Profits and Revenues Slide, but Are ‘Better Than Expected,’ Says ITV

    ITV revenues and profits were in negative territory in the first half of the year, but CEO Carolyn McCall said the results were better than expected. The boss of Britain’s largest commercial broadcaster had previously said 2019 was partly about mitigating losses for the company, as major advertisers brace for Brexit. “The economic and political environment [...]

  • Harley Quinn DC Universe

    4 Things We Learned at TCA 2019: Day 1

    The 2019 Television Critics Association summer press tour kicked off on Tuesday with presentations from DC Universe, A+E Networks, and Nat Geo. DC Universe, the DC-branded streaming service, brought their adult animated series based on “Harley Quinn,” while A+E brought along a range of projects from across their portfolio. It was also announced that A+E [...]

  • The Boys Amazon Prime

    TV News Roundup: Amazon Drops 'The Boys' Final Trailer (Watch)

    In today’s roundup, USA releases the trailer for the second season of “The Purge” and Amazon drops the final trailer before “The Boys” launches.  RENEWALS Viceland has renewed the pro wrestling docu-series “Dark Side of the Ring” for a second season. The upcoming season will feature 10 hour-long episodes chronicling the lives of wrestlers inside [...]

  • WGA West Logo

    WGA West Unveils Candidates for Election That Reflects Discord Over Agency Campaign

    The WGA West has unveiled the slate of candidates for officer posts and board seats in the election that reflects the divisions among members over the guild’s handling of the campaign to reform its rules governing talent agents. Scribes Phyllis Nagy (“Carol”) and William Schmidt (“Yellowstone”) are set to challenge David Goodman for the president’s [...]

  • The Code CBS

    'The Code' Canceled After One Season on CBS

    Freshman military drama “The Code” is officially done at CBS. The news comes just one day after the show’s season finale, which will now serve as the show’s series finale. “Thank you to all you wonderful people who watched [‘The Code’],” series star Dana Delany wrote on Twitter. “Last night was our finale and sadly, [...]

  • Matt Tolmach'Venom' film premiere, Arrivals, Los

    Amazon to Develop Human IPO Series With Matt Tolmach Producing

    Amazon is developing a series inspired by the true story of a man who sold shares of himself to investors, Variety has learned. In a competitive situation, Amazon has landed the project, titled “JNNA.” It is described as a half-hour comedy about the next big investment craze — humans. It is inspired by Mike Merrill, [...]

  • Olympics

    NBCUniversal Projects More Than $1.2 Billion in Ad Sales for 2020 Olympics

    NBCUniversal projected it would sell more than $1.2 billion in advertising for its 17 days of broadcasts of the 2020 Olympics from Tokyo, citing the event as a rare opportunity for Madison Avenue to reach big audiences without the worry of politics getting in the way of a commercial message. The Olympics is “one of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content