If you’ve been following news about the news, you may have heard that Fox News is dealing with some serious inner turmoil. In early July, fomer Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against her previous employer after reporting that she was sexually harassed by Roger Ailes, former chairman of the cable network.
On Tuesday, it was announced by Fox that a $20 million settlement had been arrived at between the anchor and the network, according to The New York Times. Vanity Fair reports that Ailes has “repeatedly, and fervently, denied all allegations of sexual harassment," but the network seems to think he's guilty—they offered an apology to Carlson, stating, "We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve."
Carlson also reported that she endured sexist treatment from fellow co-host Steve Doocy on their “Fox & Friends” morning talk show during the three years she spent on the program.
When news of Carlson’s suit first broke, Ailes and his legal team released a legal statement calling the suit “retaliatory” and motivated by Carlson’s anger that Fox didn't renew her contract (she filed the lawsuit right after being told her contract would not be renewed). In a report from the legal case proceedings, Ailes is said to have mistreated Carlson because she refused his many sexual advances. Carlson maintains that she was repeatedly ostracized, marginalized and shunned (and finally fired) for her refusal to acquiesce to Ailes’s demands.
Carlson has spoken about her experiences with misogyny in the workplace before, so it seems unlikely that she would be dredging up these kind of allegations purely out of a desire to get back at her former employer. Additionally, Carlson is far from the only woman to report these kinds of experiences with Fox—even Fox powerhouse Megyn Kelly has said Ailes harassed her.
Ailes is no longer the chairman of the network, thankfully having been removed from the ranks within two weeks of Carlson’s original filing. Hopefully Fox will learn from this mistake and implement better hiring practices and workplace treatment policies. The fact that women still have to endure aggressive behaviors at work such as these is unbelievable.