Sexual harassment at Fox News
July 7, 2016 3:20 PM   Subscribe

Gretchen Carlson of Fox News Files Harassment Suit Against Roger Ailes
Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox News, was accused on Wednesday of forcing out a prominent female anchor after she refused his sexual advances and complained to him about persistent harassment in the newsroom, a startling accusation against perhaps the most powerful man in television news.

In a lawsuit, the anchor, Gretchen Carlson, a longtime Fox employee who left the network last month, portrays Mr. Ailes as a loutish and serial sexual harasser, accusing him of ogling her in his office, calling her “sexy,” and describes a boys’ club environment at the network.

Her charges — including the accusation that Mr. Ailes explicitly asked Ms. Carlson for a sexual relationship during a meeting in his office — amounted to an almost unprecedented public attack on Mr. Ailes, a towering figure in media and Republican politics who typically enjoys absolute loyalty from his employees.

Late Wednesday, the parent company of Fox News, 21st Century Fox, issued a measured statement, saying it had “full confidence’’ in Mr. Ailes, but had initiated an internal review of Ms. Carlson’s charges. “We take these matters seriously,” the company said.
Additional coverage:
  • Anchor Gretchen Carlson files lawsuit alleging "pervasive" sexual harassment at Fox News
    According to Carlson’s complaint, Carlson met with Ailes last September to complain about ongoing discrimination and retaliation against her, and Ailes replied: "‘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." The complaint also rattles off examples of the "sexually charged comments" Ailes would direct at Carlson in everyday conversation, including:
    • "Ogling" Carlson, asking her to turn around "so he could view her posterior," and urging her to wear certain outfits every day because they compliment her figure.
    • Telling Carlson to stop worrying about being treated equally and getting "offended so God damn easy about everything," and accusing her of trying to "show up the boys" on Fox & Friends.
    • Telling Carlson that she was "sexy, but too much hard work."
    • Bragging in Carlson’s presence that he had slept with three former Miss Americas, but not Carlson.
    [...]

    Carlson also complained about repeated harassment from former co-host Steve Doocy

    The suit doesn’t name Doocy as a defendant, but it does allege that while he and Carlson were co-hosts of Fox & Friends, 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 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 female journalist rather than just a blond prop."

  • Outfoxed?
    Fox News was enveloped in silence for most of Wednesday, as news ricocheted around New York and Washington of former host Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit depicting the network’s legendary CEO and chairman Roger Ailes as a pervasive harasser of women.

    Under previous legal assaults – including a long-ago sexual harassment claim against the network’s top star, Bill O’Reilly – the network’s defense of itself has been fast and furious.

    This time, however, seven hours came and went without word from the network. And when it came, initially from parent network 21st Century Fox, it was a surprise: A promise to conduct an internal investigation of Carlson’s claim that Ailes repeatedly made inappropriate comments about her looks and then declined to renew her contract for refusing to sleep with him. The network also vowed to look into her depiction of her former “Fox & Friends” co-host, Steve Doocy, as a sexist colleague who treated her like “a blond female prop.”

  • Fox News Women: Roger Ailes Asked to See My Underwear, If I Was Single, and More
    “Since about 11 a.m., we have been contacted by many women who say they were harassed by Roger Ailes and they’ve reached out to us,” Smith said, adding that she hadn’t had an opportunity to talk to them yet. “There are maybe around 10 women who’ve said, ‘I’ve been a victim, too.’”

    [...]

    “One time he asked me if I was wearing underwear, and was he going to see anything ‘good,’” said a former Fox News employee, who said she has spoken with other women at the network who said they were targets of Ailes’s sexually charged remarks. “It’s happened to me and lots of other women… He’s a disgusting pig who’s been getting away with this shit for 20 years.”

    A second ex-employee, who also said Ailes verbally harassed her with inappropriate comments during one-on-one meetings, said the powerful and famously combative executive has so far escaped the consequences of his alleged behavior, because “when it comes to this issue, there’s already a conspiracy of silence. The problem is you don’t want to come forward because you don’t want to be personally and professionally destroyed. You don’t want to bring down Roger Ailes’s wrath on your head.”

    She added that Ailes is hardly unique in an industry dominated by male executives who sometimes take sexual advantage of their power and position. “Television is really a difficult, arbitrary, and competitive business, and you don’t want to give TV executives a reason to say no,” she said.

    A third former Fox News employee told The Daily Beast: “When I met Ailes he wouldn’t stop staring at my legs, and at one point he asked if I was single. I was taken aback and said yes. And he was like, ‘Oh, OK, so you’re not gonna get pregnant any time soon.’ And then he asked my age.
posted by tonycpsu (115 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
 
I would not be surprised if NewsCorp uses this as a way to remove Ailes.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:22 PM on July 7, 2016 [13 favorites]


Let's hope this gets all the way to Murdoch.
posted by kafziel at 3:27 PM on July 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Given the often noted homogeneity of appearance among the (uniformly blonde) female anchors, this suggests that that may be as much due to a sexual fetish on the part of Ailes or someone else with power over hiring/career progression as due to a natural equation of a certain type of female face with American conservatism.
posted by acb at 3:35 PM on July 7, 2016 [23 favorites]


Roger Ailes looks like a lovely man.
posted by Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez at 3:38 PM on July 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


So, which Silicon Valley robber-baron is financing this one?
posted by schmod at 3:39 PM on July 7, 2016 [28 favorites]


Color me so deeply surprised.
posted by lumpenprole at 3:40 PM on July 7, 2016 [11 favorites]


I'm a bit disappointed that Ailes has sexual proclivities. I'd always assumed he was some sort of engineered monster fueled by pure evil.
posted by Dr. Twist at 3:47 PM on July 7, 2016 [38 favorites]


I admit to being astounded at pervasive sexual harassment at Fox News. or that Ailes is best described as "loutish." I mean, that's practically the definition of Fox News.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:48 PM on July 7, 2016 [3 favorites]




> Ailes once said to a Fox woman at a barbecue, "I bet you're not wearing any panties."

"I bet you've never seen any without paying for it."
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:50 PM on July 7, 2016 [8 favorites]




So, which Silicon Valley robber-baron is financing this one?

A more tasteful quip might be 'The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.'
posted by My Dad at 3:57 PM on July 7, 2016 [8 favorites]


Supercut: Gretchen Carlson on 'Fox & Friends'

Yikes! And it sure seems unlikely that they weren't 100x worse when the cameras weren't pointed at them.
posted by aubilenon at 4:10 PM on July 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


...it stands to reason the Murdoch children would have the leverage they need to push Ailes aside and install a less-right-wing chief.

Less right-wing? Somehow, I think this will be along the lines of how less dark things are at 4am versus midnight.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:10 PM on July 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Supercut: Gretchen Carlson on 'Fox & Friends'

Wait wait wait wait wait.

This isn't archive footage from 1994?

Holy fucking shit no wonder misogynistic old men watch this channel.
posted by Talez at 4:12 PM on July 7, 2016 [18 favorites]


borkencode: "Supercut: Gretchen Carlson on 'Fox & Friends'"

The few times that I've watched Fox News, I felt like there was such a creepy old man vibe to it. It seemed like they placed the short-skirted female reporters in such a way that they expected you to watch just for the chance of seeing an up-skirt shot.
posted by octothorpe at 4:12 PM on July 7, 2016 [23 favorites]


A more tasteful quip might be 'The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.'

It's on the rug.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:15 PM on July 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I heard an interview, maybe with Ailes himself, describing one of the formative experiences of his childhood:
A story Ailes has told—“his Rosebud story,” according to Stephen Rosenfield, who worked with Ailes in the nineteen-seventies—is about a lesson he learned in his bedroom as a boy. His father, holding out his arms, told him to jump off the top bunk and then deliberately failed to catch him, saying, “Don’t ever trust anybody.”
Roger, history is about to repeat itself -- with you as you, and, as he probably has been from the very beginning, Rupert Murdoch playing your father.
posted by jamjam at 4:17 PM on July 7, 2016 [10 favorites]


Fox News Sources: Gretchen Carlson Wasn’t The First Roger Ailes Victim
“He told me that if he was thinking of hiring a woman, he’d ask himself if he would fuck her, and if he would, then he’d hire her to be on-camera.”
posted by adamvasco at 4:18 PM on July 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


It seemed like they placed the short-skirted female reporters in such a way that they expected you to watch just for the chance of seeing an up-skirt shot.

The leg cam
posted by BungaDunga at 4:22 PM on July 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


Fox News Sources: Gretchen Carlson Wasn’t The First Roger Ailes Victim
“He told me that if he was thinking of hiring a woman, he’d ask himself if he would fuck her, and if he would, then he’d hire her to be on-camera.”


How fucking shit must Megyn Kelly feel finding that out?
posted by Talez at 4:23 PM on July 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


You think Megyn Kelly didn't already know?
posted by restless_nomad at 4:24 PM on July 7, 2016 [61 favorites]


I'm sure she had an inkling but to know for sure you were basically hired for your fuckabilitiy has got to be a disgusting thought for any woman.
posted by Talez at 4:26 PM on July 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


The Murdoch sons know that Ailes time has come and gone. Being ridiculously partisan was an easy way to differentiate Fox News from CNN but at a certain point it actually begins undermining the value of the News Corp brand and it's other properties. Ailes has largely been immune due to Rupert Murdoch being an odious troll as well and the fact that Fox News has been largely successful in becoming a valuable property but I'm not sure continuing to market exclusively to the Olds is the best growth strategy and maybe a pivot towards the center would be good for revenue growth. Ailes has largely been able to block that to date but this will probably be the nail in the coffin.

It's just unfortunate that likely so many women were probably victimized during his tenure.
posted by vuron at 4:44 PM on July 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm sure she had an inkling but to know for sure you were basically hired for your fuckabilitiy has got to be a disgusting thought for any woman.

I view any woman willing to work for Fox News in any major capacity as being basically amoral. She's probably just happy to have succeeded and doesn't care why.
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:47 PM on July 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


If you're pretty enough, it's hard as hell to find a job where that's *not* where they hired you. I imagine it's even worse in appearance-based jobs than in, say, graphic design.
posted by restless_nomad at 4:53 PM on July 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


I view any woman willing to work for Fox News in any major capacity as being basically amoral.

Even right wing journalists gotta eat and pay the rent. And I'd bet that many Fox employees aren't even right wing. Necessity is a mother. TV is very competitive.
posted by Bee'sWing at 4:58 PM on July 7, 2016 [14 favorites]


My understanding of women in conservative media is informed by this clip of Ann Coulter from The Boondocks: "She just do that to get that redneck money.'

But seriously, best wishes to Carlson. No one should have to endure sexual harassment in their workplace, even when that workplace is the eldritch horror of the new media gods.
posted by palindromic at 5:08 PM on July 7, 2016 [10 favorites]


That supercut doesn't include the time Carlson walked off the set. And yeah, she laughs, but a lot of people are caught in that "do I play this as a joke or do I get visibly angry" when dealing with a toxic environment.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:08 PM on July 7, 2016 [13 favorites]


And yeah, she laughs, but a lot of people are caught in that "do I play this as a joke or do I get visibly angry" when dealing with a toxic environment.

To me it's very obvious that she's super pissed about ALL the comments she gets in that first video. I've done the awkward-not-really-laughing response, and maybe it fools some
men, but I'm sure every woman understands that reaction.
posted by a strong female character at 5:11 PM on July 7, 2016 [50 favorites]


That supercut is jaw-dropping. I feel awful for Carlson, like she's some sort of captive victim.

I certainly raise my eyebrow at anyone who chooses to work for Fox News, but even conservative women journalists deserve respect and freedom from sexual harassment.
posted by Nelson at 5:12 PM on July 7, 2016 [34 favorites]


He's done this for decades and got away with it. Unfortunately there are many more men like him. Maybe we're finally getting to the point where we can start doing something about this.
posted by humanfont at 5:15 PM on July 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I view any woman willing to work for Fox News in any major capacity as being basically amoral.

You don't have to be a good person to be the victim of harassment. The fact that people are willing to dismiss harassment because they don't like the victim is a big part of why harassers get away with it.
posted by Gygesringtone at 5:19 PM on July 7, 2016 [120 favorites]


To those who are a little too comfortable with the premise that female Fox News anchors deserve what they get for working there, I feel obliged to remind everyone to not judge a book by the cover Fox News has bound it in.
posted by belarius at 5:29 PM on July 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


I view any woman willing to work for Fox News in any major capacity as being basically amoral. She's probably just happy to have succeeded and doesn't care why.

gross. gross gross gross fucking gross. G R O S S

no woman deserves sexual harassment, end of story, bye. this shit is right up there with the whole "you should be happy you're getting attention" and "if you didn't want attention why did you dress like that/exist in general" shit thrown at women complaining about street harassment.
posted by poffin boffin at 5:37 PM on July 7, 2016 [125 favorites]


Interesting in the supercut that two guys in similar suits are teasing Carlson and the other woman about wearing identical dresses. Well, not really interesting. But one of those sexist things I never noticed before:women aren't supposed to dress the same as other women, but dudes all dress pretty much alike.
posted by Cookiebastard at 5:39 PM on July 7, 2016 [21 favorites]


I noticed that, too, Cookiebastard. The men are wearing not just similar suits, but pretty much identical silver ties, too, so that the one last bit of individuality in how they're dressed is erased. And that's the day that they call out the women for wearing the same colour of dress. I'm not surprised at the, "Why the fuck do we even have to deal with this?" silent response that's written on Laura Ingraham's face.
posted by clawsoon at 5:53 PM on July 7, 2016 [7 favorites]




God, the replies following that tweet...ugh.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:16 PM on July 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I view any woman willing to work for Fox News in any major capacity as being basically amoral.

"Because of where she worked" is no better a justification than "because of what she was wearing".
posted by mhoye at 6:24 PM on July 7, 2016 [19 favorites]


I view any woman willing to work for Fox News in any major capacity as being basically amoral. She's probably just happy to have succeeded and doesn't care why.

Hold up, how is it amoral to be sexually harassed? Because a woman whose her boss is sexually attracted to her, and who still manages not to quit or fail, is somehow responsible for his shitty behavior?

A woman can be a monster and still be a victim of sexual harassment, assault, or abuse. The conditions are orthogonal.
posted by gingerest at 6:39 PM on July 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


Also found via Twitter:

Ms. Carlson wrote about sexual harassment for the Huffington Post last year.
posted by riruro at 6:47 PM on July 7, 2016


"I view any woman person willing to work for Fox News 21st Century Fox / News Corp in any major capacity as being basically amoral."

There, that's better…
posted by Pinback at 6:54 PM on July 7, 2016


No, it's really not.
posted by Dashy at 6:59 PM on July 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


Jesus, people, make an effort.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:00 PM on July 7, 2016 [10 favorites]


Hillary, give her a call. Remind her it's possible to overcome and claim victory.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:02 PM on July 7, 2016


Fucking horrible. I would have thought "it sucks when all women are sexually harassed, no matter who they are" to be noncontroversial.
posted by corb at 7:03 PM on July 7, 2016 [46 favorites]


No woman deserves this sort of toxic treatment, no matter what their politics. The clip above is pretty sickening. Living in Canada I'm unfamiliar with Fox News, so this is pretty weird stuff.
posted by My Dad at 7:05 PM on July 7, 2016


I loathe Fox News. On many different counts and in every kind of light.

I hope she nails them to the fucking wall. Go, Gretchen!
posted by amanda at 7:13 PM on July 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


Fucking horrible. I would have thought "it sucks when all women are sexually harassed, no matter who they are" to be noncontroversial.

Hold on. I'm not saying her harassment is ok at all (I wasn't even talking about the subject of the FPP, for one thing). What I was saying is that a woman willing to work in a major capacity at Fox news - a company which directly supports politics which would have her not being allowed to work at all, or have any other freedom - had got to be pretty much amoral and mercenary. A person like that is totally fine for succeeding on the basis of her looks, or any other reason, because they Just Don't Care. That's what being amoral and mercanary means.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:15 PM on July 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'd love to see presidential election exit poll results for the women of Fox News. What are the chances that we'll hear, "Okay, that's it, I'm voting Clinton," on Fox News before November?
posted by clawsoon at 7:18 PM on July 7, 2016


Although to be fair, I suppose they might really believe the Fox News politics - which would make them evil, which is worse than mere amorality.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:19 PM on July 7, 2016


I would encourage you to consider what "succeeding on the basis of her looks, or any other reason" actually means. Why is it immoral for a woman's appearance to contribute to her success?
posted by gingerest at 7:20 PM on July 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


It's not immoral, but it is privilege, and I think most people would be bothered by succeeding on the basis of privilege and nothing else.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:22 PM on July 7, 2016


(I wasn't even talking about the subject of the FPP, for one thing).

i mean, then maybe move on to a post you do want to actually talk about?
posted by nadawi at 7:22 PM on July 7, 2016 [11 favorites]


why are women especially amoral for working at fox? what other things are women more responsible for the morality or ethics of?
posted by nadawi at 7:23 PM on July 7, 2016 [9 favorites]


"Amoral and mercenary" were your words. Not "privilege".
posted by gingerest at 7:24 PM on July 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


why are women especially amoral for working at fox?

Because it directly supports politics that undermine their rights?
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:24 PM on July 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


What I was saying is that a woman willing to work in a major capacity at Fox news - a company which directly supports politics which would have her not being allowed to work at all, or have any other freedom - had got to be pretty much amoral and mercenary.

You may think that but that's not how people work. Haven't you heard the optimistic "changing from the inside" rhetoric? I'd argue that women like Carlson are creating change. I feel that it is true that you can't be a female face on Fox without being pretty. But, fucking damn, daily women are discriminated against for not being pretty enough for whoever is doing the hiring. And women who are pretty can, in fact, be brilliant. I've seen her enough to feel that she's a smart lady and you can't be a woman in the world without having to put up with male asshats. That's part of the job. That's part of the job of existing as a woman. Women are also allowed to be mercenary. I encourage all my women friends to be mercenary in their professional aspirations and goals. Men taught me this.
posted by amanda at 7:25 PM on July 7, 2016 [42 favorites]


Because it directly supports politics that undermine their rights?

so men who do work in ways that undermine women's rights aren't as amoral because they only benefit and aren't disadvantaged by their choices? i'm not sure you've thought this through...
posted by nadawi at 7:27 PM on July 7, 2016 [24 favorites]


I mean, whatever. You think she deserve what she gets. Fine. She "deserved it." Now it's Ailes turn. Turnabout is fairplay or something.
posted by amanda at 7:27 PM on July 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't really know that Carlson was trying to be an agent of change from within Fox News, and frankly I don't think any armchair psychoanalysis to that effect is going to be fruitful. What I do know is that her decision to press charges has prompted "maybe around 10" other women to come out of the woodwork to reveal their own experiences being harassed, and that's a good thing.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:28 PM on July 7, 2016 [22 favorites]


Mod note: Mitrovarr and everyone else, let's please move on from that particular point and discuss the actual subject of the thread. Thanks.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:31 PM on July 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


[ in the 80s a woman said] Ailes offered her an extra $100 a week in salary in exchange for having sex with him "whenever I want".

So Ailes has always been a monster.
posted by monotreme at 7:55 PM on July 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


To me it's very obvious that she's super pissed about ALL the comments she gets in that first video. I've done the awkward-not-really-laughing response, and maybe it fools some men, but I'm sure every woman understands that reaction.

I can also imagine a certain type of man (such as – oh, I dunno – the type who watches Fox News) being perfectly aware of her discomfort and anger, and actually getting off on it.
posted by non canadian guy at 8:50 PM on July 7, 2016 [10 favorites]


Ailes has a unsurprising type.
posted by adept256 at 8:55 PM on July 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Are we sure Ailes isn't actually the reincarnation of Alfred Hitchcock?* Not only does he look like Hitch, but he's got the same blonde fetish and (if Tippi Hedren is to believed) the same creepy, pervy proclivities.

*Minus the artistry, natch.
posted by non canadian guy at 8:57 PM on July 7, 2016


I like watching the radicalization of Megyn Kelly

From Twitter: "Someone please write a novel about all the Fox News blondes rebelling and forming their own lethal army."
posted by straight at 9:58 PM on July 7, 2016 [17 favorites]


Ailes has a unsurprising type.

Every time I have watched FOX News I think of the presenters as right wing versions of Max Headroom.
posted by zaelic at 1:56 AM on July 8, 2016


A story Ailes has told—“his Rosebud story,” according to Stephen Rosenfield, who worked with Ailes in the nineteen-seventies—is about a lesson he learned in his bedroom as a boy. His father, holding out his arms, told him to jump off the top bunk and then deliberately failed to catch him, saying, “Don’t ever trust anybody.”

Interestingly enough, Kathleen Hanna tells the same story about her mother.
posted by acb at 3:12 AM on July 8, 2016


Interestingly enough, Kathleen Hanna tells the same story about her mother.

They're both full of it. I first heard this story as the basis of an ethnic joke when I was a little kid back in the early 70's. In Louisville, KY.

My grandfather (a bigot along the lines of Archie Bunker) used to tell this joke.
posted by valkane at 3:23 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


A story Ailes has told—“his Rosebud story,”

You had to make me think about his rosebud? Really?
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:26 AM on July 8, 2016


If, as some have hoped upthread, Newscorp uses this to throw Ailes under a bus (in the parlance of our times), I fully expect more women to come forward, probably every blonde woman working at Fox. I'd imagine Ailes has a victim list of Cosby proportions.
posted by wabbittwax at 5:24 AM on July 8, 2016


Also, that super-cut of Carlson on Fox & Friends contains multiple instances of sexual harassment sufficient to get most people fired from their jobs. I'm predisposed to loathe Steve Doocy and Not-Steve Doocy anyway, but all the moreso after watching that.
posted by wabbittwax at 5:31 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am really tired of people who come in to every discussion of every violation and say “well, if you didn’t want [horrible thing] to happen to you, then you wouldn’t have [existed in the wrong space].”

People do things in this world that you don’t like. People work for organizations in this world that you don’t like. People hold beliefs that you don’t like. But to turn any of that into “therefore when horrific things happen to them, then they probably deserved it” is disgusting.

In fact, using that formulation at ALL is 100% a Fox News move! It is a just world fallacy framing, and it is GARBAGE.

I am so, so tired of “Well, what did you expect?” We should expect better, for everyone, in all places.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:35 AM on July 8, 2016 [32 favorites]


Women are also allowed to be mercenary. I encourage all my women friends to be mercenary in their professional aspirations and goals. Men taught me this.

I've got no criticism for Gretchen whatsoever here (as if it'd even be my place to criticize!), but to me, this comment doesn't even apply. What Gretchen is finally doing here is not playing ball and not being mercenary. Even if she had been choosing to try to play ball and "change things from within" in the past, that's not what she's doing now and I think that's a commendable, genuinely helpful thing to do. Internalizing the practices and rules of the boy's club just to survive is understandable, but it's not a way to affect real change. What she's doing now instead is, so she deserves respect and support for being brave enough to not be mercenary and to represent a real alternative to just going along with those status quo serving lessons the men might have taught her.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:52 AM on July 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


Carlson's suit and the other conservative women coming forward present some of the strongest evidence that carrying water for white patriarchy will not actually protect you from the ill-effects of that system.

You can be the kind of woman they value - conventionally attractive, agreeable, a supporting role to the men - and your male colleagues will fail to treat you with the respect that is allegedly accorded to 'good women' within the patriarchal system. Loyalty and respect are virtues almost exclusively reserved for the white men within the system. No matter the time and effort a woman or person of color puts in to prop up the system, they will not merit the same protection a white man gets just for existing within it.

In this way, the women of Fox News bring to mind Serena Joy from The Handmaid's Tale, who as a televangelist advocated for the dominionist patriarchy put into place, but suffered immensely once her advocacy paid off. It is not an uncommon survival/success strategy for women to prop up patriarchal norms, but those norms often come crashing down on those same women the moment they place a toe out of line.
posted by palindromic at 7:08 AM on July 8, 2016 [19 favorites]


Honestly, we should be lauding Carlson for having the courage to finally come forward publicly, rather then putting out the usual misogynistic accusations.

Also? Speculation that Carlson isn't really responsible here for the public complaint, and it's all actually a cunning plan on the part of NewsCorp or the Murdochs, is also pretty misogynistic.
posted by happyroach at 7:39 AM on July 8, 2016 [6 favorites]


Last night's Daily Show featured a montage of over-the-top sexism that has appeared on Fox News. If that's the type of stuff that happens on air, I shudder to think what happens behind the scenes.
posted by zakur at 7:47 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ailes hiring women for Fox News based on their appearance has been a known thing for a long time. Also known: that everybody at Fox broadcasts opinions handpicked by Ailes, often completely unrelated to the stories they're reporting on that day.

None of that makes the people who work at Fox News stupid or incompetent, and suggesting that they're worthless as humans because of where they work is making some dumb assumptions. Suggesting that they deserve sexual harassment because of where they work is literally Ayn Rand levels of morally despicable.

I really dislike Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly, and am inclined to feel very little sympathy towards either of them for things they are actually morally culpable in, such as saying really awful racist shit on television for a living, but holy shit, people, respecting people's basic rights while strongly disliking them is what makes something a goddamned right in the first place.
posted by rorgy at 8:07 AM on July 8, 2016 [18 favorites]


A story Ailes has told—“his Rosebud story,” according to Stephen Rosenfield, who worked with Ailes in the nineteen-seventies—is about a lesson he learned in his bedroom as a boy. His father, holding out his arms, told him to jump off the top bunk and then deliberately failed to catch him, saying, “Don’t ever trust anybody.”

This was also in Don Winslow's book, Savages
posted by theorique at 8:14 AM on July 8, 2016


The thing about the incident with his father that raises it to a whole 'nother level of abuse is that Ailes is reported to be a hemophiliac.

If I were Ailes, I'd think my father might well have been trying to kill me, whether fully consciously or not.
posted by jamjam at 9:13 AM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Honestly, we should be lauding Carlson for having the courage to finally come forward publicly, rather then putting out the usual misogynistic accusations.
Amen to this. My wife is a plaintiff's side employment attorney who has been working on these sorts of sexual harassment suits for 25 years and one of things she sees in almost every case is that after her client comes forward, she almost always finds a number of other women who had the same experience with that company or boss. Sometimes dozens of these women. There is a very simple reason for this: it takes a lot of courage to go public with these accusation and it often (usually?) has terrible, terrible consequences for the women who do so. It is so traumatic and difficult than many women affected refuse to even discuss it on the record. So I'm with you -- bravo to Ms. Carlson for having the courage to come forward and here's to hoping there will be real consequences and real change.

I will also say that ongoing public discussions about the realities of sexual harassment and assault like this one have made real social change. She just won a case where the primary defense was to attack the accuser for the way she responded to the assault and to suggest that the fact that she kept quiet in order to keep her job for years -- basically criticizing the way she reacted to her victimization. Ten years ago, that defense worked consistently. Today, fueled by an indignant closing argument ("How dare they tell an assault victim how they are supposed to react"), the jury found quickly for her client. Progress may be slow and hard earned, but it is real.
posted by Lame_username at 9:32 AM on July 8, 2016 [27 favorites]


I'm sure Roger Ailes only harassed Carlson et al. because he was concerned about women's health.
posted by Silvertree at 10:37 AM on July 8, 2016


The thing about the incident with his father that raises it to a whole 'nother level of abuse is that Ailes is reported to be a hemophiliac. If I were Ailes, I'd think my father might well have been trying to kill me, whether fully consciously or not.

I don't think this story is true.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 7:59 PM on July 8, 2016


Roger Ailes always has seemed like a creep, and if the fallout from these accusations means he will have less power and influence, that's a good thing.

However, I'm having trouble imagining how a post-Ailes pivot to the center would work for Fox News, as being unreasonably right-wing or, if you prefer, radically regressive, is their whole brand.

Though it may seem implausible, I am given to understand that some of the nuttiest wingnuts already think of Fox as being too squishy and overrun with RINOs.

So, let's say Fox did decide to air ten seconds of programming that wasn't "liberals + Democrats = ONE MILLION TIMES WORSE THAN SATAN+HITLER SQUARED!!!!!"

I'm guessing 90% of their current audience would bail.

Meanwhile, if you are a younger person with any knowledge of the current Fox News who was looking for a credible broadcast or cable TV news source, would you tune into "The New Fox News - Now even more fair and balanced!"? I think not.

Can't say I'm a fan of Ms. Carlson's broadcast work, but I hope she wins her suit and gets a big payday.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 9:11 PM on July 8, 2016


You can be the kind of woman they value - conventionally attractive, agreeable, a supporting role to the men - and your male colleagues will fail to treat you with the respect that is allegedly accorded to 'good women' within the patriarchal system. Loyalty and respect are virtues almost exclusively reserved for the white men within the system. No matter the time and effort a woman or person of color puts in to prop up the system, they will not merit the same protection a white man gets just for existing within it.

The really gross thing, though, is that the standard conservative line is that stuff like that montage of on-air-sexism is all no big deal; boys will be boys and Real Women are all in on the joke and think it's all in fun. It's supposedly not something women have any need to be protected from.
posted by straight at 9:35 PM on July 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


They don't need to be protected from it. They need to be heard when they say, "no. That's enough."
posted by wabbittwax at 8:49 AM on July 9, 2016


NYMag: Six More Women Allege That Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Them. Stories going back to 1967. He's been doing this for fifty years.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:20 AM on July 9, 2016 [7 favorites]


But some of that crap falls into the bucket of stuff women shouldn't have to say 'no' to, stuff that's not okay unless she's specifically said 'yes.'

I'm saying the conservative claim is that what many women consider harassment is fine if the woman doesn't object, and she shouldn't object because it's no big deal. The second half if that sentence is the worst, but the first half is also bad.
posted by straight at 10:37 AM on July 9, 2016


NYMag: Six More Women Allege That Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Them. Stories going back to 1967. He's been doing this for fifty years.

Holy shit, one of those women says at the time "I was a kid[...]I think he knew I was sixteen." Not only does he need to be sent away for the rest of his life, they need to investigate the whole apparatus and lock up everyone that was an accessory to the decades of abuse. In a just world, this would be the end of FNC as a business, because this sounds like it was common knowledge. Of course, we all know that's never going to happen.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:52 AM on July 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


The then-sixteen-year-old: "He finally pulled up his trousers. He was very angry and rushed over to his desk, pulled open a door and had a reel-to-reel tape recorder going. He said to me, ‘Don’t tell anybody about this. I’ve got it all on tape.’"

So twisted. He had a full recording of himself chasing a sixteen-year-old around the room, his junk hanging out, and the recording was a threat to her. Still is a threat to her, since she doesn't feel safe using her real name.
posted by clawsoon at 1:03 PM on July 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


Ailes Arguing Carlson Breached Contract
Mr. Ailes’s lawyers said Ms. Carlson’s suit, which they called a “tar-and-feather campaign,” was a breach of her contract. The contract, they said, included a confidentiality agreement stipulating that any disputes should first go into arbitration.
posted by zakur at 7:16 PM on July 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Disputes! Ailes was breaking the law assholes. If Ailes stole her television would her lawyers want her to go to arbitration?
posted by Mitheral at 7:42 PM on July 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


Not a lawyer, so I am confused as to why an arbitration clause would apply after her contract was terminated.
posted by riruro at 8:00 PM on July 9, 2016


Lawyers please correct me if I am wrong. Most contracts that have an arbitration clause word it to cover the term of employment and all events related to the workplace during that term. Thus if Mr. Ailes stole a television out of Ms. Carlson's office (adapting Mitheral's hypothetical above) she would have to go through the arbitration process even if she discovered the theft after her contract ended. This is because the theft happened during her period of contracted employment. Such clauses often mandate the the arbitrator be someone chosen by the employer as well. Basically it is a way of screwing employees and protecting corporate interests.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 10:27 PM on July 9, 2016


I don't know that such a thing really can be applied to an actual crime, though. It's for civil suits. Which might cover this, but would not cover a theft.
posted by kafziel at 5:48 PM on July 10, 2016


Lawyers please correct me if I am wrong. Most contracts that have an arbitration clause word it to cover the term of employment and all events related to the workplace during that term.
It is quite complicated. Avoiding the arbitration clause is probably one significant reason why they sued Ailes individually and not the company. Generally speaking, the arbitration clause will apply to suits against the company, not against individual co-workers. Here is a long article explaining most of the issues
posted by Lame_username at 8:32 AM on July 11, 2016


WUT:
@GeraldoRivera: I've known him 40 years. He's about as flirty as the grizzly in #TheRevenant. I stand with Roger Ailes
There is no emoji or ASCII that can or will conceivably ever accurately represent this.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:27 PM on July 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Gretchen Carlson, Former Fox Anchor, Speaks Publicly About Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
Asked 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.”

[...]

Of her former colleagues supporting Mr. Ailes, Ms. Carlson said, “They’re still being paid by Fox.”

[...]
In 2012, after a disparaging comment about women made by her co-host Brian Kilmeade, Ms. Carlson walked off the set in apparent protest. She later said she was joking.

Ms. Carlson said on Tuesday that she was called by “management” to find out if she was joking. She suggested it was less of a question, and more of an instruction.

“A lot has been said that I’ve been sending signals and signs on occasion,” she said. “That’s true. I was sending a signal about how I felt.”

Asked why she filed the lawsuit and what she hoped to achieve from it — money, vindication, punishment for Mr. Ailes? — she responded without consulting her lawyers.

“To stand up for what happened to me and what was the truth,” she said.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:06 AM on July 13, 2016 [3 favorites]




^^ Sherman reports that the Murdochs reached their decision after reviewing preliminary results of the Paul, Weiss investigation.

Preliminary results.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:43 AM on July 18, 2016


Gabriel Sherman: Sources: Megyn Kelly Told Murdoch Investigators That Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Her (emphasis mine)
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’s comments to investigators might explain why the Murdochs are moving so quickly to oust Ailes. As New York reported yesterday, Rupert and sons James and Lachlan, the three top executives at 21st Century Fox, have, according to multiple sources, decided that Ailes needs to be removed. Kelly, who has become something of a feminist icon thanks to her tangles with GOP nominee Donald Trump, is seen by many inside Fox as the future of the network. She’s currently in contract negotiations, and given that Bill O’Reilly has said he’s considering retirement, Fox can’t afford to lose her.

According to two sources, Monday afternoon lawyers for 21st Century Fox gave Ailes a deadline of August 1 to resign or face being fired for cause. Ailes’s legal team — which now includes Susan Estrich, former campaign manager for Michael Dukakis — has yet to respond to the offer. Ailes has also received advice on strategy from Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani, sources say.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:37 AM on July 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


And this is just the preliminary investigation. They're not even standing by him until the investigation is finished. I'm genuinely surprised at how quickly they seem to have thrown him under the bus. This isn't anyone, it's Roger Ailes. They've circled the wagons for so much less.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:56 AM on July 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


I wonder how active Kelly was behind the scenes in all of this. And if there aren't half a dozen publishers trying to get the rights to her tell-all book right now, I'll eat my hat.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:16 PM on July 19, 2016


Drudge (yeah, I know...and no, I'm not linking to him) is reporting he's gone as of this Friday, with a $40m+ golden parachute.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:26 PM on July 19, 2016


Although here's a link to TPM.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:29 PM on July 19, 2016



Fox News' 13-day war: Final shots ring out across media as a company and its founding guardian tear each other apart
. Apparently, there is the possibility of some of the Fox News personalities leaving with Ailes and starting up a competing network:
Three of Fox News’ biggest stars — Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren — have clauses in their contracts that would allow them to depart if Mr Ailes were to leave the network, the two people briefed on the dispute said. [Financial Times, potentially paywalled]
posted by ltl at 3:24 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]








Our nation is such a generous meritocracy! I'm so glad he got his payout before resigning. What a peach of a man! What a leader! Inspiring! I can't wait for the next gentleman to take his place. It's gonna be great.
posted by amanda at 4:05 PM on July 22, 2016 [1 favorite]




So Ailes has always been a monster.

Just realized, he's also this guy!
posted by Melismata at 12:15 PM on August 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yep, that's him. What's more, Ailes learned a lot of his tricks serving as a media consultant for Richard Nixon, and he also served in that capacity for Reagan and the elder Bush. You can draw a solid line through many of the worst things about the US, and it'll roughly be the shape of Ailes' career.
posted by JHarris at 12:27 PM on August 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


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