Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson sat down at the Variety Studio earlier this week to discuss “Beyond the Headlines,” her forthcoming Lifetime documentary about the recent college admissions scandal.
Carlson touched on Fox News projects “The Loudest Voice” and “Bombshell,” both inspired by the true events that led to the firing of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes after female personnel accused him of sexual harassment. Carlson, arguably the most high-profile of the Fox News accusers, spoke about seeing herself portrayed on screen.
“When you do something like this and you step off that cliff, it takes an immense amount of courage,” she told Variety‘s Audrey Yap. “And farthest from my mind was ‘Oh my gosh, I think some day they’ll make this into a mini-series or make this into a movie.’ I thought I was just going to be sitting home crying my eyes out from being fired. How would I have ever known that there would be swift consequences for my alleged perpetrator. So while it’s strange and frustrating that I can’t participate, I think these projects are great because it keeps the dialogue going. In the end, what’s most important is that they will encourage other women and men to know that they can come forward.”
Carlson also spoke about how Trump is a “master marketer.”
“Having known him and interviewed him so many times, I can say that he is a master marketer,” she said. “I was one of the very few journalists when he announced he was running for President who said ‘He will be the Republican nominee for President.’ And why did I say that? Because I’ve seen him massage and message the American public with his show ‘The Apprentice.’ He used to come on the morning show that I used to host and he would say it’s the number one show on television. And I would say live, right back on the air to him, ‘No it’s not, Donald.’ And he would say, ‘Yes, it is, Gretchen.’ People at home were probably watching that and saying, ‘Wow, I should probably be watching the number one show on television.’ And before you know it, it was the number one show on television.”
Carlson says the college admission scandal, documented in Lifetime’s “Beyond the Headlines,” has taken hold in the American public because it touches a nerve.
“I think that a lot of people have been so frustrated with this story and paying attention to it because they see it as — it’s the haves against the have-nots again. We always thought this was the case and now we’re seeing it. It’s the entitlement. And I think that’s what’s been so frustrating for the huge swatch of Americans out there who also want the best for their children, but they aren’t the uber rich.”
For her documentary, Carlson secured an exclusive interview with Jennifer Kay Toy, the parent who filed a $500 billion lawsuit against 45 of the 50 named in the original federal lawsuit. In the lawsuit, Kay alleged that her son was overlooked in favor of people who had wealth and influence.
The “Beyond the Headlines” documentary premieres this weekend.