Fox CEO Roger Ailes slammed former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit on Wednesday, July 6, calling the claims “retaliatory” and “false.”
“Gretchen Carlson’s allegations are false,” he said in a statement to Us Weekly. “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,” Ailes continued. “This defamatory lawsuit is not only offensive, it is wholly without merit and will be defended vigorously.”
Earlier in the day, Carlson, 50, filed a suit in the Superior Court of New Jersey, alleging that Ailes, 76, had long made inappropriate sexually charged comments toward her throughout the duration of her career, and had even made sexual advances toward her, which she rejected.
According to the lawsuit, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, the chairman and CEO once allegedly told the political commentator, “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” during a September meeting.
Carlson also alleged in the filings that Ailes “sabotaged” her career when she complained to him about the hostile working environment as a cohost of Fox and Friends. Her show The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson was moved to the 2 p.m. time slot shortly afterward.
The former Miss America was fired from her position at Fox News on June 23 after 11 years. In the time since the suit was filed, a number of women have contacted Carlson’s attorneys with stories of their own experiences.
“We have gotten emails from former Fox employees who said they experienced the same kind of harassment from Roger Ailes,” Nancy Erika Smith, an employment litigator for Smith Mullin, P.C., tells Us. “We haven’t had the chance to contact anybody. It’s been a very hectic day. But we have gotten emails from women who had similar experiences who may be willing to speak out.”
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