On CNN, Gabriel Sherman Reports That Fox Anchor Megyn Kelly Has Accused Roger Ailes Of Sexual Harassment
Sherman And CNN Also Reported That Roger Ailes Is "Apparently On His Way Out" Of Fox News
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From the July 19 edition of CNN's America's Choice 2016: Republican National Convention:
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BROOKE BALDWIN (HOST): This bombshell report today involving the head of Fox News and one of its biggest stars. We're talking about Roger Ailes, already accused of sexual harassment by a former anchor. He's apparently on his way out. Let's get straight to CNN's senior media correspondent, host of Reliable Sources, Brian Stelter, here in Cleveland with me as is the writer of this damning piece of journalism here, Gabriel Sherman. Gabe, with New York magazine, first, just tell us your reporting. What do you know?
GABRIEL SHERMAN: Well, what we know is that Megyn Kelly has come forth in this investigation that's being done by an outside law firm into he allegations that Gretchen Carlson raised in her lawsuit. And she's told the lawyers that she herself experienced sexual harassment by Roger Ailes as of ten years ago.
BALDWIN: Ten years ago.
SHERMAN: Ten years ago.
BRIAN STELTER: She was a young reporter at Fox News.
SHERMAN: Rising up through the Washington bureau, yes.
BALDWIN: And since then she has obviously risen to where she is.
SHERMAN: Yes. The other critical piece of information we now know is that as of yesterday, the Murdochs told Roger Ailes' representatives that he has until August 1st to resign quietly and amicably. Otherwise, he could be fired for -- terminated for cause after that. So they've gone to him with this ultimatum, and this is where the state of play stands.
STELTER: We are talking about a GOP kingmaker, a man who ran campaigns for Republicans decades ago. Now a television production legend. He built Fox News from nothing into the powerhouse it is today. If he is to step down or to be fired in the weeks to come, it means a lot for the future of Fox. It also means something for women who have experienced this in the workplace who may want to come forward. Now, he is denying all the allegations of sexual harassment. But what I find so striking about Gabe's report about Megyn Kelly; it's been two and a half hours since it came out. So I got a hold of Megyn Kelly's personal cell phone number and her husband's cell phone number, been calling and texting, and they're not saying anything. They're not answering. That means they're not denying the story. And frankly, if they wanted to stop this, if they wanted to deny the reporting, they would do that by now.
SHERMAN: I reached out to her agent at CAA [Creative Artists Agency] again before publication and they did not call me back. So again, they are not doing anything to actively shoot this down.
STELTER: Ailes is at work today, he's running the company today, he's running the channel today on a very big week for all the cable news channels. I think it's worth noting as recently as April in the press, Megyn Kelly has been supportive of Ailes, praising Ailes saying that he's a great boss to work for and thanking him for helping her rise to where she is in television today. But that doesn't necessarily mean that she was not harassed in the workplace.
SHERMAN: We should also point out that the one thing that this investigation really has blown the lid off is the culture of silence that Roger Ailes has built at Fox News. Women at Fox News have talked to me, I assume they've talked to you, are terrified about speaking out because they've signed these non-disclosure agreements, these contracts that Roger Ailes and his lawyer, the Fox News lawyer Diane Brandy have insisted upon they signing are very powerful contracts. But what I understand is that the lawyers at Paul, Weiss doing this investigation for Rupert Murdoch have said that they will waive the nondisclosure part of this contract for women to come forward and to speak. Because women are terrified that they could be sued for speaking out. But now the lawyers say listen, we will not use these NDAs to cover up what is potentially against the law or against corporate policy. So the NDAs are now gone.
STELTER: And already this afternoon I've had one woman reach out to me who wants to speak to Paul, Weiss. She read Gabe's story, was a former employee of Fox, wants to speak to the law firm, now that she's been told she can speak freely.
BALDWIN: So perhaps as more women being able to speak freely. Was it one part of your reporting though, is Ailes getting advice from Trump?
SHERMAN: Yes. So he has not -- not the specific story but in the last -- since Gretchen Carlson filed her lawsuit, Donald Trump has reached out to Roger Ailes. He has publicly praised Roger Ailes.
STELTER: They've been friends for decades.
SHERMAN: Trump has been advising him behind the scenes. I do know in this most recent case, Rudy Giuliani, of all people, a long-time Ailes friend, is also part of his kitchen cabinet of advisors working with his lawyers to try to strategize how to get out of this mess.
STELTER: We should never underestimate Roger Ailes. Keeping in mind that there's no proof of these allegations right now, there's no audio or video recordings, for example. We can't underestimate Roger Ailes. But it sure seems, from your reporting, from others' reporting, the Murdochs, the Murdoch family has him in an extremely difficult situation.
SHERMAN: We should also lastly point out that the Drudge Report, which is one of the most powerful voices in conservative media, played this story big just now and Drudge is being seen as a barometer for the fact that he's willing to give this play, his sources might be saying this is Ailes' time.
STELTER: Checking my email because the Murdochs, the 21st Century Fox folks, still haven't commented this afternoon.
STELTER: Their silence is kind of the story now.
BALDWIN: All right. Gabe Sherman and Brian Stelter -- it's a big deal. It is a big, big deal.
STELTER: You know, we are talk being about a rival of Fox. But it is shocking even if you step back, 30,000-foot view, the folks in this building,the folks that watch Fox News, I think they're shocked, too.