On Wednesday, July 6, 2016, Gretchen Carlson, former host of “The Real Story” on Fox News, Miss America and Miss Minnesota, and author of Getting Real announced that she had filed a lawsuit against Fox News Chairman and CEO, Roger Ailes, alleging years of sexual harassment and wrongful termination after she turned down his advances.
The suit, which former Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson filed in New Jersey court, claims Ailes “sabotaged her career because she refused his sexual advances and [she] complained about severe and pervasive sexual harassment”.
As part of Ailes’ retaliation, her lawsuit claims, Carlson received diminishing assignments to high-profile interview subjects, and was cut from her regular segment on Bill O’Reilly’s weeknight show. Carlson’s complaints included being passed over multiple times for advancement within the network, and seeing a drop in her pay when she began hosting The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson.
Fox News did not immediately return a request for comment.
The lawsuit accuses Ailes of “ostracizing, marginalizing and shunning” Carlson before ultimately firing her from the network on 23 June, the day her contract ended. Ailes made clear to Carlson that her “problems”, meaning his treatment of her, would improve “if she had a sexual relationship with him”, her lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit claims that Carlson confronted Ailes over “discriminatory treatment” nine months before her termination. Ailes used the meeting, the suit claims, to make a direct sexual advance toward 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,” Ailes said, according to the lawsuit, which says he added: “sometimes problems are easier to solve” that way.
Also named in the lawsuit is Fox & Friends co-host, Steve Doocey. Carlson claims that Doocey created a hostile work environment by treating Carlson in a demeaning and sexist way during her time as co-host on the popular morning news show.
In addition to other comments about her body, she alleges he responded to her complaints about sexism in the workplace with hostility, saying she thinks “it only rains on women.” The complaint says herFox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy treated her “in a sexist and condescending way,” including in one incident by “putting his hand on her and pulling down her arm to shush her during a live broadcast.” When she complained about this behavior to Ailes, she says he called her a “man hater” and “killer” and told her to learn to “get along with the boys,” according to the complaint.
On June 23, 2016, a day after her last contract expired, Carlson was fired.
Exactly one year prior to Carlson’s termination from FoxNews, AlphaNews reporter, Julia Erynn, sat down with Carlson to talk about Getting Real, Carlson’s memoir about her life.