Parent company 21st Century Fox has given Fox News CEO Roger Ailes a deadline of August 1 to resign or be fired in light of its investigation into his alleged sexual harassment, New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reports.
Ailes, who has led the conservative network since its inception, has been under fire since July 6, when former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against him alleging sexual harassment and retaliation. As other women have come forward to levy similar accusations against Ailes, the network’s hosts and anchors -- along with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump -- have rallied around him.
21st Century Fox has hired the law firm Paul, Weiss to investigate the allegations. Yesterday, Sherman reported that his sources say Rupert Murdoch and his sons Lachlan and James, the company’s leaders, had decided to give him the choice to resign or be fired. Today, Sherman reports that the deadline for that offer is August 1, and that it is in part triggered by allegations from Fox anchor Megyn Kelly that Ailes had sexually harassed her as well. From Sherman’s report:
According to two sources briefed on parent company 21st Century Fox’s outside probe of the Fox News executive, led by New York-based law firm Paul, Weiss, Kelly has told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances towards her about ten years ago when she was a young correspondent at Fox. Kelly, according to the sources, has described her harassment by Ailes in detail.
Kelly’s comments to investigators might explain why the Murdochs are moving so quickly to oust Ailes. As New York reported yesterday, Rupert and sons James and Lachlan, the three top executives at 21st Century Fox, have, according to multiple sources, decided that Ailes needs to be removed. Kelly, who has become something of a feminist icon thanks to her tangles with GOP nominee Donald Trump, is seen by many inside Fox as the future of the network. She’s currently in contract negotiations, and given that Bill O’Reilly has said he’s considering retirement, Fox can’t afford to lose her.
According to two sources, yesterday afternoon lawyers for 21st Century Fox gave Ailes a deadline of August 1st to resign or face being fired for cause. Ailes’s legal team, which now includes Susan Estrich, former campaign manager for Michael Dukakis, has yet to respond to the offer. Ailes has also received advice on strategy from Donald Trump and Rudy Guiliani, sources say.