Gretchen Carlson, Fox News Settle over Roger Ailes Harassment Case

Carlson will receive a reported $20 million in damages.

Published Sep 6, 2016

Image Via YouTube

Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, who accused the network's former chairman of repeated, long-term sexual harassment, will reportedly receive a $20 million settlement:

A 21st Century Fox Corporation news release did not specify a settlement amount, but a person briefed on the settlement said that it amounted to $20 million, and that Mr. Ailes was responsible for a portion of the payment. The person also said Fox News was in settlement talks with other women at the network.

The network's parent company, 21st Century Fox, also offered an unprecedented apology for Roger Ailes' alleged behavior in a statement:

21st Century Fox is pleased to announce that it has settled Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit.  During her tenure at Fox News, Gretchen exhibited the highest standards of journalism and professionalism. She developed a loyal audience and was a daily source of information for many Americans. We are proud that she was part of the Fox News team. 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.

Ailes was sacked from his position at the network following the charges, which he continues to deny — although Carlson's accounts are not unique.  An investigative piece from New York magazine examined the environment in which Carlson brought her lawsuit:

More than two dozen women have come forward to accuse Ailes of sexual harassment, and what they have exposed is both a culture of misogyny and one of corruption and surveillance, smear campaigns and hush money, with implications reaching far wider than one disturbed man at the top.

It began, of course, with a lawsuit. Of all the people who might have brought down Ailes, the former Fox & Friends anchor Gretchen Carlson was among the least likely. A 50-year-old former Miss America, she was the archetypal Fox anchor: blonde, right-wing, proudly anti-intellectual. A memorable Daily Showclip showed Carlson saying she needed to Google the words czar and ignoramus. But television is a deceptive medium. Off-camera, Carlson is a Stanford- and Oxford-educated feminist who chafed at the culture of Fox News.

Ailes has already been in contact with the New York reporter who wrote the article quoted above, according to Vanity Fair: 

Ailes’s newly retained libel lawyer, Charles Harder, sent “demand” letters to both Sherman and New York magazine asking them to retain all documentation related to Sherman’s reporting. (A spokesperson for New York confirmed receipt of the letter.) Harder recently represented Terry Bollea, a.k.a Hulk Hogan, in his successful $140 million lawsuit against Gawker Media. Harder also recently represented Melania Trump.

Carlson offered the following statement of her own:

I am gratified that 21st Century Fox took decisive action after I filed my complaint. I’m ready to move on to the next chapter of my life in which I will redouble my efforts to empower women in the workplace. I want to thank all the brave women who came forward to tell their own stories and the many people across the country who embraced and supported me in their #StandWithGretchen. All women deserve a dignified and respectful workplace in which talent, hard work and loyalty are recognized, revered and rewarded.

Fox also announced the longtime presenter and "On the Record" host Greta Van Susteren is out at the network following a reported financial disagreement.  

According to a source familiar with the process, Van Susteren asked to renegotiate her contract after Roger Ailes resigned under pressure as Fox News chairman following a sexual harassment lawsuit. Van Susteren is one of a number of key Fox personnel whose contract included a “key man” clause allowing her to leave if Ailes departed.

She will be replaced by Brit Hume.

Brooke Binkowski is a former editor for Snopes.

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