Gretchen Carlson has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. In her lawsuit, she enumerates many specific egregious acts of sexual harassment by Mr. Ailes and her former co-host Steve Doocy. Ms. Carlson was employed at Fox News from 2005 until June 2016. Some of the sexual harassment allegedly committed by Mr. Ailes was:
- Asking Ms. Carlson to turn around so that he could look at her from behind;
- Commenting often on her appearance and encouraging her to wear outfits that he thought enhanced her figure;
- Advising her that she was “sexy” but “too much hard work,” and saying “I'm sure you can do sweet nothings when you want to”;
- Asking how anyone could be married to her and letting her know that if he could be stranded on an island with anyone it would be her;
- Telling several people with Ms. Carlson present that he had slept with three Miss Americas but not Ms. Carlson; and
- Asking Ms. Carlson how she felt about him and then saying “Do you understand what I'm saying to you?”
Mr. Doocy was also accused of creating a sexually hostile work environment. He apparently mocked her, shunned her off the air, refused to engage with her on the air, and belittled her contributions on the show. Ms Carlson stated that Mr. Doocy treated her in a sexist and condescending manner.
Ms. Carlson has asserted that she was retaliated against after complaining several times. Mr. Ailes called Ms. Carlson a “man hater” and told her to stop worrying about being treated equally. He also 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…sometimes problems are easier to solve” that way. She has asserted that her pay was cut; that she was paid less than similarly situated male employees and than other employees who had not complained. Other retaliation included giving her fewer hard-hitting interviews, firing her from Fox & Friends, moving her to a less desirable time slot, not promoting her new slot, and cutting back on her other appearances.
Ms. Carlson's lawsuit currently has only Mr. Ailes identified as a defendant. Mr. Ailes has denied all of the allegations. He has claimed that Ms. Carlson's suit is a retaliatory response to the network's decision not to renew her contract. 21st Century Fox has issued a statement that it intends to review the matter but that it has “full confidence” in Mr. Ailes and Mr. Doocy.