Fox News has had a pretty great year so far thanks to record high ratings for its delivery of the this year's stories, but now the network itself is making news following a lawsuit filed by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson against CEO Roger Ailes. Carlson was just fired from Fox News in a move that she now alleges was in retaliation for refusing sexual advances from Roger Ailes. She has filed a lawsuit that paints an ugly picture of what was going on behind the scenes.
News of the lawsuit was released via an email sent to media outlets by the law firm representing Gretchen Carlson, according to Politico. The suit claims that Carlson's career was damaged throughout her eleven years at Fox News due to her repeated rebuffs of Roger Ailes' sexual advances and comments of a sexual nature. Ailes allegedly repeatedly opined to Carlson that they'd both be better off if they were sexually involved. The lawsuit asserts that Ailes responded to her rejections by first firing her from her co-anchor position on Fox & Friends, then seriously reducing her compensation at the network when she moved to her own afternoon news show. The lawsuit states that switch from Fox & Friends to The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson reportedly offered her fewer opportunities for high-profile stories that could have furthered her career as a journalist, and she did not reap any benefits from the high ratings that her show delivered for Fox News.
Gretchen Carlson is seeking damages on several fronts. The lawsuit demands compensatory damages to make up for lost compensation, damage to her career that prevented greater compensation via advancement, damage for mental anguish, and damage to her reputation via inappropriate remarks. She furthermore seeks reimbursement for court costs and punitive damage against Roger Ailes.
Roger Ailes is the only party from whom Gretchen Carlson is seeking damages, but the lawsuit does mention her former Fox & Friends co-anchor Steve Doocy, who allegedly made comments of a sexual and demeaning nature to Carlson when they were not on the air. Carlson and Doocy worked together on Fox & Friends for her entire tenure on the show from 2006 - 2013. The lawsuit claims that Roger Ailes dismissed Carlson's 2009 complaint about Doocy's behavior by stating that she needs to "get along with the boys," and she was subsequently denied appearances on other Fox News programs in a pattern of behavior driven by a personal agenda rather than what was best for the network.
The lawsuit has only just been filed, and the public way in which news of the lawsuit was released to the media means that we probably shouldn't expect the case to come to a quiet conclusion. Carlson was released from her contract in the end of June; she and her lawyers have clearly been busy with this lawsuit against Roger Ailes in the time since. There's no saying at this point what will come of the lawsuit, but Fox News certainly won't be getting much in the way of good press from the situation. The network's history of reacting aggressively toward hosts and analysts might not work this time. We'll have to wait and see what happens next.