Roger Ailes and 21st Century Fox in Talks About his Departure Over Sexual Harassment Claims

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Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes and the cable news network’s parent, 21st Century Fox, are discussing a plan that would lead to the departure of the legendary 76-year old news executive following a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by a former employee, according to a person briefed on the matter.

The person asked to speak anonymously because of the sensitive nature of their talks.

The stunning development comes less than two weeks after Gretchen Carlson filed the suit in a state court in New Jersey, alleging that Ailes sabotaged her career because she refused his sexual advances. Carlson left Fox on June 23 when her contract wasn’t renewed. Twenty-first Century Fox expressed confidence in Ailes but hired New York law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to investigate the situation.

Ailes has vigorously denied the allegation, saying the lawsuit is a retaliatory measure for the network’s refusal to renew Carlson’s contract. She was let go, Ailes said, due to the low ratings of her show, The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson.

The Drudge Report said Tuesday that it had obtained a document that shows Ailes plans to leave with a $40 million severance package. Twenty-first Century Fox tweeted a statement denying it: “Roger is at work. The review is ongoing. The only agreement that is in place is his existing employment agreement.”

The departure of Ailes, a former media adviser to President Nixon, would represent a sea change for the conservative-leaning network, which dominates cable news ratings and has transformed Republican politics since its founding in 1996.

The powerful news executive is reviled by many liberals for what they say is his manipulative, intellectually dishonest and overly aggressive approach to politicizing news. Conservatives view him as a visionary figure who has provided a much-needed counterbalance to what they see as the liberal mainstream media. Many industry watchers say Ailes dictates operational and editorial details of the network and that it is hard to imagine Fox News without him.

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Source: USA Today | Roger Yu