I don’t watch much Fox News because it makes me physically ill, but I’ve seen enough to know Gretchen Carlson’s face, if not her name. I guess I thought she was still on Fox & Friends in the morning, although she hasn’t done that show since 2013. Instead, she’s been doing a 2 p.m. slot, apparently with solid ratings and good results. I honestly had no clue.
In any case, she recently was fired when Roger Ailes declined to re-up her contract, and now she’s taking Ailes to court.
The lawsuit — filed in Superior Court in New Jersey, where Mr. Ailes maintains a residence — portrays the Fox chairman as a serial sexual harasser, charging that he ogled Ms. Carlson in his office, called her “sexy” and frequently made sexually charged comments about her physical appearance.
Ms. Carlson, who joined Fox in 2005, charges that during a meeting last fall to discuss her concerns about what she considered ill treatment, Mr. Ailes told her: “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.”
When she refused, the lawsuit claims, Mr. Ailes retaliated by reducing Ms. Carlson’s salary, curtailing her on-air appearances and, ultimately, declining to renew her contract last month.
The suit, filed by the law firm Smith Mullin in Montclair, N.J., seeks a variety of compensatory damages.
She also takes a swing at Steve Doocy (in my estimation, one of dumbest men on television) for subjecting her to “severe and pervasive sexual harassment.”
Like I said, I am the furthest thing from a Fox-watcher, so I don’t know how this might be going over at headquarters. I do know that it takes some courage to go after a guy like Roger Ailes. That fact alone leads me to give some credence to her accusations. Suing Ailes for sexual harassment just seems like something a sane person wouldn’t do without a very good reason. He’s nasty. He’s got an media empire at his fingertips (ink by the barrel). He’ll have the most aggressive attorneys. She presumably would like to work again someday, and her history is with rightwing outlets. Can she land a job at a more balanced network?
Of course, I have no idea what did or did not happen. Maybe there will be some settlement and that’ll be the end of it. But if it goes to court, it might get real interesting.