Fox News Anchor Gretchen Carlson Files Sexual Harassment Complaint Against Roger Ailes

Fox News Anchor Gretchen Carlson Files Sexual Harassment Complaint Against Roger Ailes
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit Wednesday against network chairman and CEO Roger Ailes.

Carlson was a co-host for Fox & Friends and the anchor for her own show, Getting Real With Gretchen Carlson. Carlson joined Fox News in 2005. Previously, she spent five years at CBS.

According to the lawsuit, Carlson alleges she was terminated on the last day of her contract on June 23 despite her show's success in the afternoon time slot. 

Carlson believed her firing was an act of retaliation for rejecting Ailes' sexual advances.

"Her complaint alleges that the firing was the ultimate retaliation against her after she rebuffed Mr. Ailes' sexual advances and also tried to challenge what she felt was unequal treatment of her in the newsroom by some of her male colleagues," according to a statement released by CNN's Tom Kludt.

The statement also revealed that Ailes allegedly told Carlson that they should've slept together when she brought up gender-based discrimination in a September meeting. Ailes also allegedly called Carlson a "man hater":

"'I think you and I should had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you'd be good and better and I'd be good and better,' Mr. Ailes allegedly told Ms. Carlson in a meeting last September, during which she tried to discuss ongoing discriminatory treatment. 'Sometimes problems are easier to solve' the way, added Mr. Ailes according to the complaint. It also accuses Mr. Ailes of frequently sexually-charged comments and conduct and that he called Ms. Carlson a 'man hater' who tried to 'show up the boys.'"

In a biography by Gabriel Sherman in 2014, Sherman wrote Ailes had made several sexist remarks about Fox's female personalities including Carlson. Carlson was crowned Miss America in 1989 before graduating from Stanford University a year later.

"When Gretchen Carlson's name came up, Ailes pointed out that she was once Miss America, then added, 'It must not have been a good year,'" Sherman wrote.

Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes issued a statement claiming 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."

"This defamatory lawsuit is not only offensive, it is wholly without merit and will be defended vigorously," Ailes added.

Nancy Erika Smith, Carlson's attorney of the firm Smith Mullin, told CNN's Brian Stelter that Carlson is only suing Ailes and not Fox News. They also might ask other women to testify against Ailes. 

"The law is very clear that other victims' testimony is relevant in a sexual harassment case," Smith said. "We may be asking these other women to testify."

Smith also said they obtained evidence of Ailes' alleged acts of sexual harassment.

"We are very confident in our evidence," she said. "We have very powerful evidence. But we don't want to discuss what the evidence is outside of the courtroom."

July 7, 2016, 10:18 p.m. Eastern: This story has been updated.

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Sarah A. Harvard

Sarah is a staff writer covering religion, race and politics. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Atlantic, Slate, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, and VICE. Send tips and feedback: sharvard@mic.com

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