Fox settles sexual harassment lawsuit for $20 million on Ailes’ behalf
Fox News will pay $20 million to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit by former anchor Gretchen Carlson against the network’s ousted chief Roger Ailes, a source familiar with the agreement said on Tuesday.
The Fox News parent company, 21st Century Fox, offered a public apology to Carlson, who filed suit against Ailes in July, saying he took her off a popular show and cut her pay because she refused to have a sexual relationship with him.
Ailes, a former political consultant who founded the conservative news operation in 1996, left Fox less than three weeks after Carlson filed suit, taking a $40 million severance package. Other women who had worked for him then came forward with allegations of harassment, leading to another lawsuit by a former on-air staffer.
Ailes was the only defendant in Carlson’s lawsuit. The source, speaking on condition of anonymity having not authorized to discuss the matter, said Ailes’ contract indemnified him from employment-related claims, which is why the company was settling on his behalf.
A court filing showed Carlson, 50, had voluntarily dismissed her federal lawsuit in New Jersey against Ailes. In a statement she said she was grateful Fox took swift action.
A statement from 21st Century Fox said, “We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve.”
Carlson, who won the Miss America beauty pageant in 1989, was a long-time co-host on the “Fox and Friends” morning program before getting her own show in 2013.
In a statement in July Ailes had said Carlson’s suit was in retaliation for the network’s decision not to renew her contract after disappointing ratings for her show.