Update: Gretchen Carlson Settles Lawsuit For $20 Million

Photo: Richard Drew/AP Photo.
Update: Gretchen Carlson has settled the lawsuit against Roger Ailes, according to a breaking report from the AP. In statement, Fox parent company 21st Century said, "we regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve." A source familiar with the confidential lawsuit revealed to the AP that Carlson received a $20 million settlement.

This article was originally published on July 6, 2016.
Update: Another former Fox News employee has come forward with a series of harrowing allegations against former CEO Roger Ailes, telling New York Magazine that he sexually harassed and psychologically manipulated her for more than two decades.

Laurie Luhn, a former Fox News booker, told the magazine that she had met Ailes early in her career and he had helped her professionally in exchange for sexual favors. Luhn called her experiences with Ailes “psychological torture” which contributed to several mental breakdowns, including a hospitalization and suicide attempt. She alleges that she was not only coerced into a sexual relationship with Ailes, she was later instructed to send other young staffers at the news organization into one-on-one meetings where she knew Ailes was likely to harass them.

Luhn is only the latest in a string of women to accuse the former executive of harassment. More than a dozen women, including anchor Gretchen Carlson, had previously accused Ailes of inappropriate sexual advances, leading to his resignation earlier this month.

Update July 21, 2016: Today, 21st Century Fox released a press release stating that Roger Ailes has officially resigned as chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network and as chairman of Fox Television Stations. Rupert Murdoch will now take on the role of chairman and acting CEO.

About Ailes' resignation, Murdoch said, “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.”


This article was originally published on July 6, 2016.

Update July 19, 2016: Roger Ailes appears to be on the way out at Fox News, according to a report in The New York Times. 21st Century Fox, Fox News' parent company, and Ailes "are in the advanced stages of discussions that would lead to his departure as chairman," according to Ailes attorney Susan Estrich.

The negotiations reportedly include a possible continued role for Ailes at the network, though it could be purely advisory. Estrich tells the Times that nothing has been finalized, including any title change or possible buyout.

“Roger is at work,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement to the Times. “The review is ongoing. And the only agreement that is in place is his existing employment agreement.”
Update July 10, 2016: New York Magazine reports that more than a dozen women have come forward to accuse Fox News CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harassment, following allegations by former anchor Gretchen Carlson.

The women contacted Carlson’s New Jersey-based attorney, Nancy Erika Smith, and made detailed allegations of sexual harassment by Ailes dating all the way back to the 1960s.

New York
Magzine published interviews with six of the women accusing Ailes of harassment over the decades, including two women who gave their full names and four who requested anonymity.

Marsha Callahan, a 73-year-old former model, told the magazine that she met Ailes in the late 1960s, when he was the producer for The Mike Douglas Show. She said, "I recall very clearly, he said he’d put me on the show, but I needed to go to bed with him.”
Ailes' outside counsel, Barry Asen of Epstein Becker & Green, responded to the new allegations, saying in a statement: “It has become obvious that Ms. Carlson and her lawyer are desperately attempting to litigate this in the press, because they have no legal case to argue. The latest allegations, all 30 to 50 years old, are false."
Update July 6, 2016: Fox News has returned Refinery29’s request for comment with the following statement from Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes:

“Gretchen Carlson’s allegations are false. 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. This defamatory lawsuit is not only offensive, it is wholly without merit and will be defended vigorously.”
Gretchen Carlson, a popular Fox News anchor known for her shows The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson and Fox & Friends, has filed a lawsuit against Fox News CEO, Roger Ailes, alleging that she was sexually harassed by the executive and ultimately fired because she refused his advances, The New York Times reports. According to her lawyers from Smith Mullin P.C., Carlson was terminated from her job at the network on June 23.

"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,” said Carlson's lawyer Nancy Erika Smith in a statement. According to the official complaint, in 2013, Carlson spoke to Ailes about problems she was having with Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy. Ailes allegedly responded by telling her to stop being so easily offended, and that she needed to learn to "get along with the boys." Carson was removed as a Fox & Friends co-host briefly after the exchange.
In her suit, Carlson also cited multiple alleged incidences of sexual harassment, including Roger Ailes making comments about her legs, saying she was sexy but "too much hard work," and suggesting they begin a sexual relationship that would be beneficial to her career.

After the news of her termination and the lawsuit were released, Carlson issued a statement: "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.”

Fox News did not immediately respond to Refinery29's request for comment. We will update this story when we get more information.

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