Roger Ailes is officially out at Fox News. On the heels of a growing list of sexual harassment allegations, rumors had speculated he and company chairman Rupert Murdoch were talking about the best way to get Ailes out the door.
Now, Roger Ailes has indeed been pushed out the door with an official announcement from 21st Century Fox making the rounds on Thursday afternoon. The announcement says Murdoch will be taking over as chairman and acting CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Channel.
Ailes has had to move on after more than 20 women filed harassment suits against him. The suit that started the downfall was one launched by former Fox and Friends morning host Gretchen Carlson.
Many in the industry were shocked by the allegations simply because the Fox News channel seemed to be such a tight-knit group of like-minded individuals. Ailes was known as one of those executives who ruled with an iron fist, and that behavior has been speculated as to why so many of the allegations took so long to surface.
Not long after Carlson launched her allegations at Ailes, another well know Fox News host in the form of Megyn Kelly also claimed the boss sexually harassed her. Some saw this as the final straw for Roger Ailes.
Kelly is well respected in the news industry and is still employed at the network. Because her allegations against Ailes were not coming from a place that could be ignored as a “disgruntled employee,” Murdoch had to take her comments more seriously.
The Guardian reports Fox could likely not ignore the accusations against Roger Ailes because of the sheer number of women who were coming forward. The lawyers for Carlson say the 20 women who have now come forward is not a final count.
In fact, those attorneys claimed they were getting numerous calls and emails every day. Carlson’s people said some of the allegations against Ailes go all the way back to the 1960’s when he was the executive producer on The Mike Douglas Show.
Carlson’s accusations stand out because she claims she was let go from Fox and Friends and then fired from the network altogether as retaliation for her reactions to Ailes’ “constant and severe sexual harassment.” Gretchen Carlson had been with the network for more than 11 years when Roger Ailes let her go.
“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,” Ailes said, according to the lawsuit. There was another instance where the now former Fox News CEO told Carlson to spin around in his office so he could “see her posterior.”
Despite the fact that Ailes had categorically denied any and all of the accusations, there had been signs Fox was looking at letting him go. Despite a cooling in support, the statement announcing Ailes was being let go was glowing in describing what he had done for the network.
The official statement said, “Roger Ailes has made a remarkable contribution to our company and our country. Roger shared my vision of a great and independent television organization and executed it brilliantly over 20 great years.”
In that statement, Rupert Murdoch made it very clear he was taking over the role in order to make sure the ratings behemoth continued down the track that has made it so successful.
There is little doubt that Ailes played a huge part in getting Fox News to the top of the news ratings with his approach, which is likely why it took weeks before Murdoch pushed him out. It’s likely Roger Ailes will ride off into the sunset, rather than seek another job at this point.
[Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Geraldo Rivera]