Roger Ailes Biographer Gabriel Sherman Reports Fox Executives Helped Ailes "Cover Up" Sexual Harassment Allegations
Sherman: “Let’s Be Very Clear, They Knew Exactly What Was Going On”
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New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reported that Fox News executives were aware of Roger Ailes’ alleged sexual harassment of Fox News employees and said some tried to help the former network chairman and CEO “cover up” his actions. Sherman, the author of a 2014 biography of Ailes, named Fox News general counsel Dianne Brandi and Ailes’ deputy Bill Shine as two executives aware of Ailes alleged misconduct. According to Sherman, Shine played a role in “rallying the women to speak out against” Ailes accuser and former Fox daytime anchor Gretchen Carlson. Sherman's reporting follows a New York Times article on a culture of sexual harassment inside the conservative news network. Sherman suggested the only way to change this “culture” is to remove “all of the executives that Ailes had elevated into positions of power.” From the July 24 edition of CNN’s Reliable Sources:
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GABRIEL SHERMAN: Brian, I just want to speak to that because I think this is where the story is going forward, the Murdochs are looking to the existing leadership at Fox News as possible replacements for Ailes. The critical issue is that, a lot of the main players, especially Bill Shine, Roger Ailes’ deputy who is in charge of programming and the Fox Business Network currently, played an integral role in the cover up of these sexual harassment claims. I reported yesterday based on internal documents --
STELTER: Those are strong words. Let me pause there for a minute, you said cover up of these claims. You're saying this man Bill Shine and others covered up what Ailes was doing?
SHERMAN: The way they did that, Brian, the reason I used those strong words, is they pushed women into confidential mediation, signing nondisclosure agreements in exchange for their contracts to be paid. These women needed to make a living, they signed nondisclosure agreements and as we have seen for the last 19 years, these allegations were not private. I have seen internal documents, I interviewed one of the women, Rudi Bakhtiar, on the record as did the New York Times, and if you see this, Bill Shine, Dianne Brandi, Fox News's general counsel, a lot of the senior executives around Roger Ailes were fully aware of this culture. Let’s be very clear, they knew exactly what was going on, they did not speak up.
STELTER: I think that's a question mark. I spoke with a spokeswoman again this morning who does not have evidence of that. But I have to say I did ask the company this morning if they would comment on whether this internal review is now being widened and they’re not commenting on that. As I said earlier, there are a lot more questions than answers right now. And you're saying, Gabe, this is going to spread quite a bit further?
SHERMAN: Yes, the people I talked to inside the company feel that the only way to change the Fox News culture is to move out all of the executives that Ailes had elevated into positions of power. There was a loyalty test. Another thing that I’m hearing is that Bill Shine, Roger Ailes’ deputy played a role in rallying the women to speak out against Roger Ailes’ accusers and lead this counter narrative to try to say don't believe Gretchen Carlson, the allegations. If that is indeed the case, that again is -- the Murdochs will have to say this is a guy, these are managers who helped enable and try to protect Roger Ailes, who presided over this culture.