NEWS

Gretchen Carlson Confirms Fox News Exit, Files Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Network's CEO

by Desiree Murphy 9:50 AM PDT, July 06, 2016
Playing Gretchen Carlson Confirms Fox News Exit, Files Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Network's CEO

After 11 years, Gretchen Carlson is saying goodbye to Fox News -- but not without a legal battle.

The 50-year-old journalist, who was the anchor of The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, took to social media on Wednesday to announce her official exit as a host with the 21st Century Fox-owned network.

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"As you may have heard, I am no longer with Fox News," she shared via Twitter and Facebook. "I value your support and friendship, especially now, so please stay in touch with me."

The confirmation came on the same day she filed a lawsuit against the network's chairman and CEO, Roger Ailes, in Bergen County, New Jersey. According to court documents obtained by ET, Carlson alleges that Ailes "sabotaged her career" because she "refused his sexual advances and complained about severe and pervasive sexual harassment."

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She also claims that Ailes made it "clear to her that these 'problems' would not have existed, and could be solved, if she had a sexual relationship with him." Carlson claims that when she met with Ailes and refused his sexual demands in September 2015, he allegedly ended her career nine months later (on June 23), "causing her economic, emotional and professional harm."

"I have strived to empower women and girls throughout my entire career," Carlson said in a statement on Wednesday. "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."

Fox News also released a statement, which read, "The Company has seen the allegations against Mr. Ailes and Mr. [Steve] Doocy. 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."

Ailes denied Carlson's claims against him, releasing the following statement to ET:

"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. When Fox News did not commence any negotiations to renew her contract, Ms. 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 wholly without merit and will be defended vigorously."

Carlson, a graduate of Stanford University, joined Fox News in 2005. In addition to her work with the network, she is also well known as a best-selling author and for being crowned Miss America in 1989.

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