Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit two months ago against Roger Ailes, her former boss. Rather than defending Ailes, Fox ousted him, launched an internal investigation, and now have agreed to a stunning settlement with Carlson and two other women.
Even though the lawsuit was against Ailes personally, Fox has agreed to settle Carlson’s suit on his behalf, for a whopping $20 million – plus they will issue a public apology as part of the deal. In return, she has reportedly agreed to bring no further legal action against Fox or any other executives, reports Vanity Fair.
A settlement has also been reached with two other women, according to sources familiar with the case. They had hired top law firm, Paul, Weiss, to handle the internal investigation.
Where Fox founder Rupert Murdoch has always been fiercely loyal to his deputies, the move to launch a swift international investigation and agree to the settlement indicates the next generation seems determined to forge a new path, says Vanity Fair. CEO James Murdoch and Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch have demonstrated they are serious about creating a new culture at Fox.
Ailes is now threatening litigation against New York Magazine and writer Gabriel Sherman, who has been reporting his unauthorized biography since early 2014, and has reported on the sexual harassment case as well. Details have come out, such as Ailes keeping guns in his office, and hanging a wooden door to prevent anyone from seeing inside his office.
Vanity Fair reports that on Friday, Ailes’ new libel lawyer, Charles Harder (who recently represented Melania Trump) “sent demand letters to both Sherman and New York Magazine asking them to retain all documentation related to Sherman’s reporting.”
Meanwhile, the new leadership at Fox News is being praised for taking the high road.
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