A sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Gretchen Carlson against Fox News CEO Roger Ailes led to an investigation into the charges, and now it seems that investigation had led to a decision to fire Ailes from his job at the network.
New York Magazine reports that two sources who were briefed on the investigation told them that after reviewing the case against Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch and his sons Lachlan and James have determined that it’s time for him to go. The only thing that is not yet decided is the timing. Rupert and Lachlan want to wait until the Republican National Convention is over, while James wants to give 76-year-old Ailes the choice by the end of the week of resigning or being fired.
The investigation into Roger Ailes morphed over time from a look at the case for sexual harassment charges into his general management style. Concerns about his management style are great enough that interviews are no longer being done at Fox headquarters. The reason: A fear that Fox offices may be bugged.
Both current and former female employees of Roger Ailes are being interviewed.
There are also concerns that Roger Ailes is pressuring employees to speak out against his accusers. A specific item of interest is an op-ed written by Neil Cavuto, a VP and managing editor.
Among his comments about the charges against Ailes is this.
“Take it from a guy with an illness: These accusations that don’t remotely resemble the Roger that I know — that WE know — are just… sick.”
Because of Cavuto’s position at Fox, there are concerns that his op-ed was received by employees to not speak out against Roger Ailes.
Cavuto responded to this allegation as follows.
“I had no Machiavellian motive or sinister intention… My only point was just to say this doesn’t ring with the guy I know… [i]t was so far from what I had seen — as if I would ever condone that behavior.”
Gretchen Carlson filed her sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes on July 6. As also reported by New York Magazine, since then, more women have come forward with similar allegations. The writer, Gabriel Sherman, who wrote the Roger Ailes biography titled The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News — and Divided a Country, had these comments.
“Fox News host Gretchen Carlson may be the highest-profile woman to accuse Roger Ailes of sexual harassment, but she is not the first. In my 2014 biography of the Fox News chief, I included interviews with four women who told me Ailes had used his position of power to make either unwanted sexual advances or inappropriate sexual comments in the office.”
Over a dozen women have come forward with charges that Roger Ailes sexually harassed them. The charges go back over 25 years and pre-date his tenure at Fox.
The New York Times reported on Sunday that, according to their sources, the Murdochs have been meeting daily to discuss the situation with Roger Ailes. Although they have not seen eye-to-eye with Ailes in the past, the Murdochs have largely left him and Fox alone because of the success of the network, but they wanted to make sure they thoroughly reviewed the situation before deciding on any actions.
“Given the importance of Fox News to the company, the high profile of Mr. Ailes, and the seriousness of the allegations, the Murdochs want to make sure impartial and thorough consideration is given to the matter.”
And now, after “impartial and thorough consideration,” they have unanimously decided to let him go. All that remains to be decided is the timing and whether or not to give Ailes the option to resign.
Roger Ailes began his television career in 1961 as a property assistant on The Mike Douglas Show. In 1965, he became a producer followed by executive producer in 1967 and 1968. He received an Emmy for his work on The Mike Douglas Show in 1968. He founded Ailes Communication the same year. He has also produced two Broadway plays and multiple TV shows and has served as a political consultant for multiple campaigns. Ailes has been at Fox for 20 years.
[Photo by Jim Cooper/AP Images]