Longtime Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson alleges wrongful termination and sexual harassment at the hands of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, in newly released court documents.
Carlson claims Ailes made “sexually-charged comments,” ones that ranged “from from lewd innuendo, ogling and remarks about Ms. Carlson’s body to demands for sex as a way for her to improve her job standing.”
The complaint was filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey on July 6, claiming as a result of not bedding the CEO, Carlson’s contract was subsequently terminated.
According to the lawsuit, it was during a meeting between Carlson and Ailes to discuss a discriminatory work environment that Ailes put sexual bargaining on the table before the Stanford University graduate.
“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,” adding that “sometimes problems are easier to solve that way,” Ailes said, according to Carlson’s lawyers.
Carlson rebuffed Ailes sexual advances at that meeting, and nine months later, Ailes ended her career at Fox News,” the lawsuit states.
Ailes allegedly also commented on Carlson’s legs, spoke of intimate relationships with former Miss Americas at a public event, and would ask Carlson to “turn around so he could view her posterior.”
In response, Ailes said the allegations are false, adding that the lawsuit is a retaliation.
“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,” Ailes said in a statement emailed by Fox communications staff. “This defamatory lawsuit is not only offensive, it is wholly without merit and will be defended vigorously.”
Second Colleague Accused
Carlson, a former Miss America, also alleges colleague and co-host on “Fox and Friends” Steve Doocy created a hostile work environment with sexist behavior.
“Doocy engaged in a pattern and practice of severe and pervasive sexual harassment of Carlson, including, but no limited to, mocking her during commercial breaks, shunning her off 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 journalist rather than a blond (sic) female prop,” the complaint states.
Carlson claims airing her grievances about Doocy’s behavior resulted in her firing as co-host of “Fox and Friends” in 2013. Though Carlson was granted her own show with “The Real Story With Gretchen Wilson,” the 50-year-old viewed it as a demotion given her compensation was reduced.
Carlson, who joined Fox in 2005, is seeking attorney fees, damages for mental anguish, and punitive damages.