Fox News host Gretchen Carlson may be the highest-profile woman to accuse Roger Ailes of sexual harassment, but she is not the first. In my 2014 biography of the Fox News chief, I included interviews with four women who told me Ailes had used his position of power to make either unwanted sexual advances or inappropriate sexual comments in the office.
And it appears she won’t be the last, either. In recent days, more than a dozen women have contacted Carlson’s New Jersey-based attorney, Nancy Erika Smith, and made detailed allegations of sexual harassment by Ailes over a 25-year period dating back to the 1960s when he was a producer on The Mike Douglas Show. “These are women who have never told these stories until now,” Smith told me. “Some are in lot of pain.” Taken together, these stories portray Ailes as a boss who spoke openly of expecting women to perform sexual favors in exchange for job opportunities. “He said that’s how all these men in media and politics work — everyone’s got their friend,” recalled Kellie Boyle, who says Ailes propositioned her in 1989, shortly after he helped George H.W Bush become president., serving as his chief media strategist.
Six of the women agreed to speak with New York publicly for the first time. Two spoke on the record; the others requested anonymity for reasons that include shame and fear of retribution. “I didn’t tell my husband, it was so mortifying,” said Marsha Callahan, a former model who says Ailes harassed her in the late ‘60s, shortly before he became Richard Nixon’s media adviser.
Ailes is clearly trying to keep these stories out of the press and the courts. Late on Friday, his lawyers filed a motion in federal court in New Jersey seeking to move Carlson’s lawsuit to arbitration, which would prevent witnesses from being called in court. “Plaintiff’s ploy of filing in Superior Court to justify her shameless publicity campaign against Roger Ailes should not be countenanced,” Ailes’s lawyers argued. Carlson’s lawyers responded in a statement: “Roger Ailes is trying to force this case into a secret arbitration proceeding…Gretchen never agreed to arbitrate anything with Mr. Ailes.”
Ailes’s spokesperson Irena Briganti did not respond to requests for comment.
Here are the women’s accounts:
SOURCE: Gabriel Sherman
New York Magazine