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Former anchor Gretchen Carlson files sexual harrassment lawsuit against Fox News CEO

July 7, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Former anchor Gretchen Carlson files sexual harrassment lawsuit against Fox News CEO

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Fox News has initiated an internal investigation regarding the behavior of network CEO Roger Ailes and Steve Doocy, co-host of the morning television show “Fox & and Friends,” after a fellow Fox News anchor filed a lawsuit against Ailes accusing him of sexual harassment and wrongful termination.

The news of the lawsuit came as a shock as reporters received an email on Wednesday morning from the law firm who is representing the former co-host of “Fox & Friends” and the host of “The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson.”

According to Gretchen Carlson’s attorneys at Smith Mullin P.C., Carlson’s contract was terminated on June 23rd but was not publicly announced by the network. Instead, Carlson posted a tweet that she was away on vacation.

In a statement, Carlson said: “Although this was a difficult step to take, I had to stand up for myself and speak out for all women and the next generation of women in the workplace. I am extremely proud of my accomplishments at Fox News and for keeping our loyal viewers engaged and informed on events and news topics of the day.”

A 21st Century Fox spokesperson told reporters: “We take these matters seriously. While we have full confidence in Mr. Ailes and Mr. Doocy, who have served the company brilliantly for over two decades, we have commenced an internal review of the matter.”

The successful CEO was outraged in response to news of the lawsuit, calling Carlson’s allegations both “retaliatory” and “defamatory.”

Ailes asserted: “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.”

The CEO’s statement continued, “When Fox News did not commence any negotiations to renew her contract, Carlson became aware that her career with the network was likely over and conveniently began to pursue a lawsuit.

Ironically, Fox News provided her with more on-air opportunities over her 11-year tenure than any other employer in the industry, for which she thanked me in her recent book. This defamatory lawsuit is not only offensive, it is without merit and will be defended vigorously.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Carlson’s complaint was filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey and alleges that Ailes targeted Carlson with “sexually-charged comments.”

The complaint read that Ailes’ actions were “ranging from lewd innuendo, ogling and remarks about Ms. Carlson’s body to demands for sex as a way for her to improve her job standing.”

Carlson’s lawyers also allege that Carlson complained about the poor treatment she was receiving from the network. In response, Ailes reportedly said that the two of them should have engaged in a sexual relationship year ago and that both of them would be better off.

The suit also accuses Ailes repeatedly talked about her legs, instructed her to wear clothes that “enhanced her figure” and asked the news anchor to “turn around so he could view her posterior.”

Additionally, Carlson claims that Ailes made sexist comments toward her in public and alleges that she was terminated from co-hosting “Fox & Friends” in 2013 because she continuously complained about Steve Doocy’s behavior. Ailes purportedly told Carlson to stop her complaining and to stop being offended so easily.

Although Carlson was given her own show that aired in the afternoons, she claims that she was demoted and that the CEO gave her a pay cut and she was not given network support or any promotion for her new show.

Nancy Erika Smith, a litigator at the law firm representing Carlson, said in a statement: “We believe that the evidence will confirm that Gretchen was fired from ‘Fox & Friends’ for speaking up about demeaning and discriminatory behavior on and off the set.”

Although the lawsuit was filed against Fox News’ CEO, Carlson also accuses Steve Doocy of sexual harassing her.

The complaint blames Doocy of “severe and pervasive sexual harassment of Carlson.” He reportedly would mock her and refuse to engage with her on air, and that he failed to “accept and treat her as an intelligent and insightful journalist rather than a blond female prop.”

Carlson, who was a former Miss America pageant winner in 1989, began working at Fox back in 2005 after serving as a news correspondent for CBS for five years.

In 2015, Carlson released a book titled “Getting Real” which details several instances of sexual assault that have occurred since the beginning of her news career.

The lawsuit seeks compensations for punitive damages and damages for mental anguish.

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