Rudi Bakhtiar isn’t a name that is front and center these days, but you’ll likely be reading more about her as the Roger Ailes fallout continues. Bakhtiar has come forward recently to add her name to the people who was sexually harassed by Ailes and she claims fired because she told people at Fox News.
Rudi Bakhtiar will also stand out because her ouster at the hands of another Fox producer came over a decade ago. Bakhtiar’s story goes a long way towards showing just how long Fox News was willing to cover up for their leadership because the network was becoming a ratings juggernaut.
— Nick Sotoudeh (@NickSotoudeh) July 23, 2016
Now the Iranian-American journalist is detailing her story about how she was sidelined in 2007 when she refused the sexual advances from incoming Washington bureau chief Brian Wilson. Yahoo News is reporting that shortly after she told her bosses about the sexual harassment, she was fired.
So how does this tie into Roger Ailes? Ailes was the person who first sidelined her and then asked her to leave altogether when she went to him about the harassment. It seems Fox handled Rudi Bakhtiar’s situation so poorly that a mediator later said the former anchor was entitled to $670,000 and a portion of legal fees she incurred after she was fired.
With Ailes officially departing the network he oversaw for decades, a story like this can seem like the former employee is just throwing more dirt on the coffin. It’s also possible she simply wants to make sure the former CEO isn’t a victim in all of this.
New York Magazine had an interview with the former anchor where she made it clear talking about her experiences means Bakhtiar has violated part of the agreement that led to the $670,000 payout. That might be good enough to convince some people she had enough at stake that she wouldn’t talk unless she was telling the truth.
The former rising star says her lawyer was contacted about an hour after the story started to break about what she claims Wilson did to her. The story becomes more believable, considering Fox attorneys appear to be trying to put a muzzle back on Bakhtiar.
— Clarence W Counts Jr (@ClarenceWCounts) July 24, 2016
The story gains more credence because of claims by people like Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly. Both of those women claim Roger Ailes was the one who sexually harassed them. Carlson claims she was let go because she spurned his advances.
Kelly is still with the network. It appears it was her popularity and the publicity that her allegations caused that led to Ailes finally getting the boot. The former CEO was pushed out the door late last week and his boss, Rupert Murdoch, certainly seemed to be trying to claim it was a real shame so many people had been so mean to his trusted confidant.
Both Gretchen and Rudi appear to be the ones who are willing to really pull the curtain back on what was really going on at Fox News. Because they were willing to come forward the way they have, there is bound to be more fallout.
The sexual harassment was and apparently is just part of the problem at the network. There have been plenty of people who have claimed there is quite a bit of sexism, even if there isn’t overt harassment.
Roger Ailes being given the boot might solve part of the problem, but it doesn’t appear as if everything is cleaned up perfectly. One has to wonder whether the network is really working on cleaning up its mess. Fox News was willing to try and sweep Rudi Bakhtiar under the carpet, they might be willing to do more of that.
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