An Additional Six Women Detail Alleged Sexual Harassment By Fox News Chief Roger Ailes
Roger Ailes biographer and New York magazine writer Gabriel Sherman is reporting statements from six more women detailing alleged sexual harassment by Ailes.
Earlier this week, former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit in civil court in New Jersey accusing Ailes of repeatedly sexually harassing her, dismissing her complaints about sexism from colleagues, and firing her after she rejected his sexual advances. The Fox News CEO has a long reported history of sexism and harassment, both during and before his time at the network, much of which is detailed in Sherman’s 2014 book, The Loudest Voice in the Room.
Fox News has largely downplayed (and mostly ignored) Carlson’s suit, and Ailes released a statement dismissing the allegations as “false” and “offensive.”
In a July 9 article at New York, Sherman prints statements from six more women accusing Ailes of harassment. According to Sherman, “more than a dozen women have contacted Carlson’s New Jersey-based attorney, Nancy Erika Smith, and made detailed allegations of sexual harassment by Ailes over a 25-year period dating back to the 1960s when he was a producer on The Mike Douglas Show.” Sherman spoke to two women on the record and an additional four who “requested anonymity for reasons that include shame and fear of retribution.”
The stories include one from former Republican National Committee field adviser Kellie Boyle, who says Ailes solicited sexual favors after meeting her for dinner in 1989 when she was in Washington, DC, to “sign a major contract with the National Republican Congressional Committee.” Ailes allegedly told her, “You know if you want to play with the big boys, you have to lay with the big boys.” She continues:
I was so taken aback. I said, ‘Gosh I didn’t know that. How would that work?’ I was trying to kill time because I didn’t know if he was going to attack me. I was just talking until I could get out of the car. He said, ‘That’s the way it works,’ and he started naming other women he’s had. He said that’s how all these men in media and politics work — everyone’s got their friend. I said, ‘Would I have to be friends with anybody else?’ And he said, ‘Well you might have to give a blowjob every once in a while.’ I told him I was going to have to think about this. He said, ‘No, if you don’t do it now, you know that means you won’t.’ The next morning I show up to get my assignment and was told the guy I was supposed to be meeting with was unavailable. Back in New Jersey I got a call from Roger Ailes. He said, ‘How’d your meeting go?’ I said, ‘Actually he wasn’t available and I’m hoping to hear back from him.’ He said, ‘Ah, well, I’m sure you will. Have you changed your mind yet?’ I said, ‘I’ll have to pass, Roger. I’m married and really committed to my husband. No offense.’ He said, ‘Well, we’ll be in touch.’ And that was that. A couple weeks later, I called a friend who was very high up in the RNC and I asked him what happened. He said, ‘Word went out you weren’t to be hired.’
Another woman claims that when she was 16 and went for a walk-on part on The Mike Douglas Show in 1967, Ailes locked her in his office and “proceeded to pull down his pants and very gingerly pull out his genitals and said, ‘Kiss them.’” He then allegedly chased her around the room before getting angry and giving up, and finally “rushed over to his desk, pulled open a door and had a reel-to-reel tape recorder going. He said to me, ‘Don’t tell anybody about this. I’ve got it all on tape.’ I think he knew I was sixteen.”
You can read the full statements from the six women at New York.
On Friday, Ailes’ lawyers filed a motion “arguing that the sexual harassment lawsuit … should be moved from a New Jersey Superior Court into federal court and submitted for arbitration,” claiming the suit was a breach of Carlson’s contract. According to The New York Times, “Ms. Carlson’s lawyers said Mr. Ailes was trying to force the case into a secret proceeding, and away from the public spotlight of a trial.”