A new report in New York Magazine is offering an explanation of why top Fox News star Megyn Kelly remained mostly silent while others on the network were taking sides on the claims by Gretchen Carlson that her chief, Roger Ailes, harassed her.
Kelly might have had the same experience.
“Kelly’s refusal to join in Ailes’ orchestrated defense has led to speculation about why,” the report said on Tuesday. “Now we have the answer. 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 toward 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 has not been completely silent on the issue. In a video embedded by USA Today, she explained how Ailes was her mentor.
“He’s also a friend. I depend on him for friendship and sane, honest advice. He gives you advice on personal life, who you are and how you’re translating on television,” she said.
After Carlson’s allegations surfaced in a lawsuit, other Fox personalites, including Greta Van Susteren and Jeanine Pirro, supported Ailes.
Reported NYMag, “Kelly’s comments to investigators might explain why the Murdochs are moving so quickly to oust Ailes.”
A report on Monday explained that three Murdoch family members at the top of 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, are in agreement that Ailes, the company chief who has been hit with sex harassment claims, should go.
New York Magazine on Monday had reported Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch, co-chairmen of the company, and James Murdoch, CEO, are working out how to remove the 76-year-old, according to two sources.
A New York law firm was tasked by the organization with investigating the claims against Ailes, and “after reviewing the initial findings … James Murdoch is said to be arguing that Ailes should be presented with a choice this week to resign or face being fired.”
The report said the other two want to wait until the GOP convention in Cleveland is over this week, the report said. New reports suggest there is an Aug. 1 deadline for a resignation to be submitted.
The magazine report said the investigation was sparked by former news anchor Carlson’s lawsuit against Ailes, but has since been expanded.
“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’ pressuring employees to speak out on his behalf, against his accusers,” the report said.
Carlson had created a hashtag on Twitter called #StandWithGretchen as she looks for support in her claim that Ailes sought to have sex with her, and did not renew her contract when she refused his alleged advances.
Ailes has denied all charges.
When Carlson tweeted a New York Magazine article documenting similar claims against Ailes by six other women, Hannity responded with a combative tweet, asking Carlson: “So why did u stay after such ‘harassment’ asking for more airtime? If u had a new contract would u sue? I doubt it.”
So why did u stay after such “harassment” asking for more airtime? If u had a new contract would u sue? I doubt it. https://t.co/7fDZtCBwvl
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) July 13, 2016
In addition to Hannity, more than a dozen top personalities at Fox News including Van Susteren, Neil Cavuto and Kimberly Guilfoyle have defended Ailes against the claims of sexual misconduct.
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Pirro praised Ailes, telling the Wrap: “Honestly, this is a decent man and I have spent my career fighting for women. I have no bones about criticizing someone when they deserve to be criticized. But this is ridiculous … I know the man. I have been in a room with him. I’ve been alone with him. He has never said or done anything [inappropriate].”
According to Carlson’s lawsuit, Ailes told her, “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago, and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better.”
Fox News has since shared handwritten notes from Carlson to Ailes from late 2015 in which she said she’d love to remain at Fox, while asking for additional opportunities there.
When asked by the New York Times why she was seeking better assignments if she felt she was a victim of harassment, she said: “I think it’s hard when you’ve been a victim – you keep thinking things are going to get better.”
In a statement, he said, “Gretchen Carlson’s allegations are false. This is a retaliatory suit for the network’s decision not to renew her contract, which was due to the fact that her disappointingly low ratings were dragging down the afternoon lineup. When Fox News did not commence any negotiations to renew her contract, Ms. Carlson became aware that her career with the network was likely over and conveniently began to pursue a lawsuit. Ironically, Fox News provided her with more on-air opportunities over her 11 year tenure than any other employer in the industry, for which she thanked me in her recent book. This defamatory lawsuit is not only offensive, it is wholly without merit and will be defended vigorously.”
When Carlson, 50, filed her sexual-harassment suit against her now-former boss, she said in the same court filing her former morning co-host Steve Doocy was guilty of the same.
The full complaint is available here.
The Daily Mail reported Carlson said she was let go on June 23 for refusing to have sex with Ailes. She worked for the network for 11 years, serving as co-host in the popular morning “Fox & Friends” show and as a host of her own afternoon news broadcast.