He’s out. Roger Ailes resigned as chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel on Thursday, July 21, following a series of sexual harassment allegations against him. Rupert Murdoch, who will assume the role of Chairman and acting CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, according to a press release, issued a statement confirming Ailes’ departure.
“Roger Ailes has made a remarkable contribution to our company and our country. Roger shared my vision of a great and independent television organization and executed it brilliantly over 20 great years,” Murdoch, 85, said in the statement. “Fox News has given voice to those who were ignored by the traditional networks and has been one of the great commercial success stories of modern media. It is always difficult to create a channel or a publication from the ground up and against seemingly entrenched monopolies.”
He went on to note some of Ailes' accomplishments. “To lead a flourishing news channel, and to build Fox Business, Roger has defied the odds,” he continued. “His grasp of policy and his ability to make profoundly important issues accessible to a broader audience stand in stark contrast to the self-serving elitism that characterizes far too much of the media.”
Murdoch added: “I am personally committed to ensuring that Fox News remains a distinctive, powerful voice. Our nation needs a robust Fox News to resonate from every corner of the country.”
As previously reported, former Fox & Friends anchor Gretchen Carlson, who exited the show in March, filed a lawsuit earlier this month claiming that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her during her tenure at Fox News. After she filed her suit, several other women came forward alleging that Ailes made sexual advances on them in the ‘90s when he was working for the network as a producer.
Ailes denied Carlson’s claims in a statement. “Gretchen Carlson’s allegations are false,” he wrote. “This is a retaliatory suit for the network’s decision not to renew her contract."
According to New York Magazine, Fox News favorite Megyn Kelly reportedly told investigators that Ailes also sexually harassed her in the workplace.
However, Ailes’ attorney Susan Estrich refuted those claims on Tuesday, July 19. “Roger Ailes has never sexually harassed Megyn Kelly,” Estrich, a partner at the Quinn Emanuel law firm, said in a prepared statement. “In fact, he has spent much of the last decade promoting and helping her to achieve the stardom she earned, for which she has repeatedly and publicly thanked him.”
21st Century Fox responded to reports that Ailes — who became the founding CEO of Fox News in October 1996 — would be exiting Fox News amid the legal drama on Wednesday, July 20, via Twitter.
“Roger is at work,” the company wrote. “The review is ongoing. And the only agreement that is in place is his existing employment agreement.”
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