Gretchen Carlson: Fox News Employees Who Defended Ailes “Should Have Known Better”
Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, whose sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit led to Roger Ailes’ recent exit from the network, told The Washington Post in an interview that she was “angry that it took so long” for Ailes to be pushed out. Carlson also said that Fox News employees who publicly defended Ailes “should have known better.”
Earlier this month, Carlson filed a lawsuit alleging that Ailes fired her after she declined his sexual advances. Since then, an additional 25 women have come forward to allege harassment by Ailes, according to Carlson’s attorney. Ailes biographer Gabriel Sherman reported that Fox News host Megyn Kelly told investigators that Ailes had harassed her as well. On July 19, it was reported that Ailes would leave Fox News as a result of the allegations and an internal investigation; he resigned two days later.
In an interview with Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan, Carlson said her reaction to Ailes’ dismissal was, “At first, satisfaction -- or no, I think validation” and that she “felt angry that it took so long.” She also noted, “It’s complicated — there was relief that now I would be believed — and I was happy to a certain extent over that.”
When asked about reports that Kelly came forward to speak about Ailes, Carlson said, “I appreciated that she told the truth, and I know it was risky.” Sullivan writes that Carlson was also “disturbed by the public statements of some Fox News women and men who came forward in the first few days to say glowing things about Ailes’s character.”
Carlson said, “Some of them were lawyers. They should have known better, so I was surprised. It was like, ‘Wow, you have no idea what you’re talking about’,” adding, “But I was at Fox a long time. I know how it works. You could sense that it all was orchestrated.” (Fox News has a notoriously ruthless PR department that often targets people critical of the network.) From Sullivan’s article:
But when I asked her how she felt as she watched Roger Ailes — perhaps the most powerful media figure in America — step down as Fox News chief only two weeks after she had sued him for sexual harassment, she searched for the right description.
“At first, satisfaction, or no, I think validation,” she told me Wednesday. And then, she said, a new round of emotion came rushing in over the sexual harassment she says she endured while working for Ailes. “I felt angry that it took so long.”
“It’s complicated — there was relief that now I would be believed — and I was happy to a certain extent over that.”
“I appreciated that she told the truth, and I know it was risky,” Carlson said, but she disagreed that Kelly’s statements made all the difference. It was “the multitude of women” who started to come forward, creating a critical mass that could no longer be ignored.
Conversely, she was disturbed by the public statements of some Fox News women and men who came forward in the first few days to say glowing things about Ailes’s character, suggesting that he could never have engaged in sexual harassment.
“Some of them were lawyers. They should have known better, so I was surprised. It was like, ‘Wow, you have no idea what you’re talking about,” she said. “But I was at Fox a long time. I know how it works. You could sense that it all was orchestrated.”