Ailes, who has led the conservative network since its inception, has been under fire since July 6, when 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.
But the Murdochs have taken the charges more seriously, hiring the law firm Paul, Weiss to conduct an investigation of the allegations. According to Sherman, the investigation has expanded to cover Ailes’ “controversial management style,” and based on its initial findings the Murdochs have decided that “Ailes needs to go,” with the only question being the timing. From New York:
Roger Ailes's tenure as the head of Fox News may be coming to an end. Rupert Murdoch and sons Lachlan and James — co-chairmen and CEO, respectively, of parent company 21st Century Fox — have settled on removing the 76-year-old executive, say two sources briefed on a sexual harassment investigation of Ailes being conducted by New York law firm Paul, Weiss. After reviewing the initial findings of the probe, James Murdoch is said to be arguing that Ailes should be presented with a choice this week to resign or face being fired. Lachlan is more aligned with their father, who thinks that no action should be taken until after the GOP convention this week. Another source confirms that all three are in agreement that Ailes needs to go.
While Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes sparked the investigation, sources say it has expanded into a wide-ranging inquiry into Ailes’s controversial management style. The interviews are now being conducted at Paul, Weiss’s midtown offices because of concerns that the Fox offices could be bugged, sources say. The lawyers are seeking to interview former female employees of Fox News in addition to current staff. They are also looking into the appropriateness of Ailes’s pressuring employees to speak out on his behalf, against his accusers.
In response to the news, Media Matters chairman David Brock released the following statement:
Fox News has been the undisputed champion of sexism and misogyny in the media and as the head of Fox News, it's not shocking that this culture of sexism -- on and off the air -- starts at the top with Roger Ailes. If this report is accurate, there is a special irony in 21st Century Fox preparing to remove Ailes as the Republican National Convention gets ready to nominate known misogynist Donald Trump, the candidate that Fox News created.
UPDATE: 21st Century Fox has released a statement that does not deny Sherman's report.