Gretchen Carlson Sues Fox CEO Roger Ailes for Sexual Harassment

Longtime Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, who was fired last month, filed a lawsuit on July 6, 2016 in the Superior Court of New Jersey against Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment.

The lawsuit, which was first reported by the New York Times, alleges that Ailes

“has unlawfully retaliated against Carlson and sabotaged her career because she refused his sexual advances and complained about severe and pervasive sexual harassment. Ailes retaliated against Carlson in various ways…including by terminating her employment on June 23, 2016, and, prior thereto, by, among other things, ostracizing, marginalizing and shunning her after making clear to her that these ‘problems’ would not have existed, and could have been solved, if she had a sexual relationship with him.”

Carlson, who joined Fox News in 2005 after five years as a correspondent for CBS News, is also the 1989 Miss America and a graduate of Stanford University.  She was the co-host of the wildly popular Fox & Friends until Ailes fired her from the show in 2013.  During that time, the suit alleges, her co-host Steve Doocy regularly treated

“her in a sexist and condescending way, including by putting his hand on her and pulling down her arm to shush her during a live telecast.  Doocy engaged in a pattern and practice of severe and pervasive sexual harassment of Carlson, including, but not limited to, mocking her during commercial breaks, shunning her of air, refusing to engage with her on air, belittling her contributions to the show, and generally attempting to put her in her place by refusing to accept and treat her as an intelligent and insightful female journalist rather than a blond female prop.”

When she complained to her supervisor in September 2009, Ailes retaliated by calling her a “man hater” and a “killer,” assigning her fewer important interviews, removing her from regular appearances on other Fox programs, and directing that “she not be showcased at all.”

After years of being ogled, objectified, and propositioned by Ailes, the suit alleges that in September 2015, he told Carlson “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.”

Carlson is seeking unspecified damages including lost compensation, damage to her career path and reputation, punitive damages, attorney’s and court costs, reimbursement for taxes she will pay on any monetary damages, and “such other relief as the court may deem equitable and just.”

USA Today reports that these aren’t the first sexual harassment charges against Ailes.  In the 1980’s, he allegedly offered Randi Harrison $100 per week to sleep with him whenever he wanted.

UPDATE: A few hours after the story broke, Brian Stelter reported on CNN Money that at least ten other women contacted Carlson’s lawyers to speak about their own sexual harassment experiences with Ailes.

Featured image credit: Getty Images

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Charlie has been writing news, opinion, and spoof pieces on politics off and on since 1994. In between gigs, he's a stand-up philosopher.