CNN's Brian Stelter: 21st Century Fox’s Apology To Gretchen Carlson “Is An Implicit Acknowledgement” Of Sexual Harassment Or Retaliation By Roger Ailes

Stelter: 21st Century Fox “Is Acknowledging That She Was Wronged In Some Fashion”

From the September 6 edition of CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello:

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CAROL COSTELLO (HOST): It is in the eight figures. Tens of millions of dollars. That's how much money former anchor Gretchen Carlson is reportedly collecting from Fox News. According to Vanity Fair the settlement is coming just two months after she sued Roger Ailes, her boss and the former head of the network for sexual harassment. In addition to that eight figure settlement, an apology could also be coming from Fox. So let's talk about this with Brian Stelter, he's been following this case closely. Wow. 

BRIAN STELTER: No one expected this lawsuit two months ago and no one expected this settlement today. Vanity Fair reporting this is a $20 million settlement over Gretchen Carlson's allegations of harassment and retaliation by former Fox News Chief Roger Ailes. And this statement, well take a look at this statement, it is again unlike something we've really seen before in corporate America. It says in part, “21st Century Fox is pleased to announce that it has settled Gretchen Carlson's lawsuit. During her tenure at Fox News, Gretchen exhibited the highest standards of journalism and professionalism. She developed a loyal audience and was a daily source of information for many Americans.” And then it goes on to say, Carol, “We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of her colleagues deserve.” What's notable about that is it's an implicit acknowledgement of the harassment or the retaliation. Roger Ailes has continued to deny the allegations leveled against him, but the company, 21st Century Fox, the owner of Fox News, is acknowledging that she was wronged in some fashion and is apologizing publicly for it. 

COSTELLO: This is just so big in my mind. I don't remember any other victim of sexual harassment settling for such a huge amount of money. 

STELTER: That's right. This is beyond Fox News, this is beyond television news. This is about corporate America more broadly and about what it means when a woman comes foward -- a woman who had been fired from her job -- comes forward and says there was a pattern of harassment and retaliation against her. Now, there had been speculation that maybe she had been recording Ailes saying sexually suggestive and inappropriate things. I think this settlement may suggest yes she did have recordings, yes she did have damaging evidence against Ailes and maybe against Fox. 

COSTELLO: Because otherwise, let's face it. It would boil down to a he-said/she-said. So she had to have some pretty powerful stuff against Roger Ailes to make this settlement possible. 

STELTER: Vanity Fair also reporting two other women have settled in this situation. Remember, Carlson only sued Ailes individually. She chose not to sue Fox News as a whole. And yet 21st Century Fox was essentially on the hook, essentially backing up Ailes because of the contract he had at the network. Now he has left. As of July 21 he is no longer with Fox News. He is said to be giving Donald Trump informal advice about Trump's campaign. We haven't heard from Ailes about this, though. We don't know how much of the $20 million he will be paying out of his own pocket. 


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