On Monday afternoon, less than one week after Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox network CEO Roger Ailes, the former “Fox & Friends” host posted a Twitter video in which she thanked her family, friends and supporters.
“Hi, everybody. I just wanted to thank you for all the support you’ve given me over the last few days. I’ve been truly blessed to have so many supporters,” she said in a 14-second video.
— Gretchen Carlson (@GretchenCarlson) July 11, 2016
According to the complaint Carlson filed at the New Jersey Superior Court on July 6, Ailes unlawfully retaliated against Carlson when she refused to engage in a sexual relationship with him. Carlson said she was routinely alienated and sexually harassed until she was ultimately terminated on June 23.
“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 allegedly said to Carlson in a meeting regarding the way she was treated at Fox, according to her lawsuit. “Sometimes problems are easier to solve [that way].”
Carlson said that Ailes asked her “to turn around so he could view her posterior, commented repeatedly about her legs, and instructed her to wear certain outfits that he claimed enhanced her figure.”
Carlson, who was Miss America in 1989, first reported being sexually harassed at Fox in 2009 when she claimed that her “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocey repeatedly belittled her on and off camera, mocking her, shushing her and refusing to engage with her. When Carlson brought these complaints to Ailes, she said he called her a “man hater” and a “killer” who tried to “show up the boys.”
In 2013, Carlson said, she was removed from the morning show and given her own show, “The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson,” during the afternoon. Her lawsuit alleges that this was directly correlated to Ailes’ dismissal of her complaint.
Ailes emphatically denied Carlson’s claims of harassment.
“Gretchen Carlson’s allegations are false. 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.
Since Carlson filed the complaint, 21st Century Fox, Fox News’ parent company, has launched an internal investigation. Six more women have reportedly accused Ailes of past sexual harassment since Carlson’s lawsuit. Some of the women spoke anonymously. Ailes’ lawyer, Barry Aspen, said those allegations were also false.
“It has become obvious that Ms. Carlson and her lawyer are desperately attempting to litigate this in the press because they have no legal case to argue,” Aspen told People magazine.