Forbes Highlights Roger Ailes’ Use Of “Sex Appeal” And “Objectification Of Women” To Boost Fox News’ Ratings
Forbes, Citing Former Fox Anchor, Reports Ailes Stipulated Female Contributor “Remain A Size Four”
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Former Fox News president Roger Ailes exploited female employees' “sex appeal” and instituted a “culture of objectification of women” to boost ratings, according to Forbes. Reportedly among the “sexually charged culture fostered by Ailes” was a condition in a female Fox contributor's contract that “required her to remain a size four.”
Ailes had a long and sordid history of rampant sexism and misogyny during his time as Fox News’ chief. Since former Fox host Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes, dozens of women have reportedly come forward to make claims of similar harassment.
Amid fallout from the allegations and Ailes’ ouster, media reports unearthed a culture of sexual harassment and intimidation at Fox that went beyond Ailes and suggested a “broader problem in the workplace.”
Forbes’ Madeline Berg, citing “former Fox employees,” wrote that Ailes “fostered” a “sexually charged culture” at Fox News that rested upon the “objectification of women” and “sex appeal.” Ailes frequently relied on showing “a thin blonde, often large-chested, invariably heavily made up, wearing a fitted and brightly colored dress or skirt, visible through the transparent desk” as a “formula for boosting ratings,” according to the article. Berg quoted a “former anchor” who said a female contributor “claimed her contract required her to remain a size four,” and a "former producer" who said "skirts were a 'requirement'" for female employees. From the July 27 Forbes article:
These “second floor” recommendations reflect one of many examples of the sexually charged culture fostered by Ailes at Fox News and Fox Business News, the two networks he created and ran for the parent company 21st Century Fox.
Following a lawsuit filed against Ailes earlier this month by former anchor Gretchen Carlson alleging sexual harassment and retaliation, FORBES spoke to a number of former Fox employees to get a sense of what went on behind the scenes during the Ailes era.
21st Century Fox declined to comment on the story. Representatives for Ailes did not respond to requests for comments. But the former employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, described a culture of objectification of women and an unwillingness to stand up to superiors, including the authoritarian and god-like Ailes, who earned an extraordinary degree of autonomy from his notoriously hands-on boss, media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, due to the unprecedented success he brought to 21st Century Fox.
One part of Ailes’ formula for boosting ratings: sex appeal.
A look at almost any show on the network often shows a thin blonde, often large-chested, invariably heavily made up, wearing a fitted and brightly colored dress or skirt, visible through the transparent desk.
A former anchor recalled a contributor who claimed her contract required her to remain a size four—very thin, especially considering she was 5’9’’.
And a former contributor and guest host said that he even knew female anchors who chose to wore (sic) waterbras to enhance their cleavage due to pressure to look a certain way.