Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, in an interview published Tuesday, offered a rebuttal to her former colleagues who have publicly defended Roger Ailes, the network chief she claims repeatedly sexually harassed her over several years: “They’re still being paid by Fox.”
Carlson made the statement to the New York Times as part of an interview that was her first with a major media outlet since she filed a lawsuit July 6 alleging sexual harassment from Ailes. Since then, Greta Van Susteren, Sean Hannity, Neil Cavuto, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Maria Bartiromo, Geraldo Rivera, Bret Baier and other current and former Fox News staffers have come to Ailes’ defense publicly.
In the interview, Carlson claims that she first complained to Ailes of being harassed at Fox News in 2009, after an incident in which her “Fox and Friends” morning-show co-host Steve Doocy allegedly pulled her arm down while they were on air in an attempt to “quiet” her. She said that Ailes’ harassment was then “continuous,” and that she had “between six and ten” meetings with Ailes in which she complained of harassment and he talked about parts of her body. Fox News has stated that Carlson never filed a formal complaint to the network’s human resources or legal department about the alleged harassment.
Carlson, who hosted “Fox and Friends” from 2006 to 2013, when she was moved to an afternoon timeslot, said of the morning show, “The culture of ‘Fox and Friends’ was intimidating to me.” She added of Ailes and the culture at Fox News, “Everyone knew how powerful Roger Ailes was. I certainly felt intimidated by that.”
Rivera on Tuesday added his name to the list of current and former Fox News staffers defending Ailes, writing on Twitter, “I’ve known him 40 years. He’s about as flirty as the grizzly in #TheRevenant. I stand with Roger Ailes.”
But a piece published July 9 in New York Magazine presented the stories of six women who claim that Ailes also harassed them. One woman in that article, one of four who spoke anonymously, described how in 1967, when she was 16 years old, she had a walk-on part for “The Mike Douglas Show” and Ailes took her to his office, pulled down his pants and asked her to “kiss” his genitals.
A statement issued that day by Fox News dismissed the allegations in the New York magazine piece, “all 30 to 50 years old,” as false.
Carlson was terminated from Fox News June 23 after her contract with the network lapsed. Her lawsuit claims that she was fired for speaking out about harassment within Fox News. The network has asserted that Carlson’s contract was not renewed because of low ratings for her afternoon show.