Ex–Fox News Host Gretchen Carlson Files Sexual Harassment Suit Against CEO Roger Ailes

Gretchen Carlson Roger Ailes
Gretchen Carlson and Roger Ailes Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images; Wesley Mann/FOX News via Getty Images

Update: Roger Ailes is slamming Gretchen Carlson's lawsuit, telling Us Weekly in a statement that her claims are "retaliatory" and "false." Read his full statement.

Original story:

Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the network’s chairman and CEO, Roger Ailes, on Wednesday, July 6.

The political commentator, 50, who claims she was fired from Fox News on June 23 after a successful 11-year tenure, filed the suit in the Superior Court of New Jersey on Wednesday. In it, she alleges that her former boss sabotaged her career after she rejected his sexual advances.

According to the lawsuit, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Carlson alleges that Ailes, 76, made sexually charged comments about her body.

In her suit, Carlson claims that Ailes once 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,” during a September 2015 meeting.

Carlson also alleges that Ailes fired her from the network’s hit morning show Fox & Friends in 2013 as an act of punishment after she reported allegedly sexist behavior by former cohost Steve Doocy. She then hosted The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson, which was ranked No. 1 among other cable news programs in her afternoon time slot.

Gretchen Carlson Fox & Friends
Gretchen Carlson speaks with former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty on 'Fox & Friends' on January 12, 2011, in New York City. Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

“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,” the commentator’s lawyer, Nancy Erika Smith, explained in a statement. “Like women in every profession, Gretchen Carlson worked hard, did her job well and participated in the world while raising her family. Also like many working women, she was reduced to a sex object by a powerful and sexist boss. Rebuffing Roger Ailes' sexual demands cost her dearly. She was marginalized and ultimately fired because she sought a harassment- and discrimination-free workplace. Gretchen has decided to take a stand, not only for herself but for all women, by declaring that this kind of behavior has got to stop.”

According to Politico, Carlson’s co-counsel, Martin Hyman, wrote, “We believe that Mr. Ailes’ behavior toward Gretchen, as described in the complaint, speaks volumes about what she had to endure. The evidence will show that Ailes deliberately sabotaged the career of a talented, hardworking journalist and loyal Fox News employee. Opposing sexism and rejecting unwanted sexual come-ons should never cost a woman her job or subject her to disparagement and emotional anguish.”

Carlson also released a statement on Wednesday morning, writing, “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.”

Us Weekly has reached out to Ailes’ rep for comment.

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