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EXCLUSIVE: Elisabeth Hasselbeck Speaks Out on Sexual Harassment Claims Against Fox News CEO Roger Ailes

by Jackie Willis 12:17 PM PDT, July 12, 2016
Playing EXCLUSIVE: Elisabeth Hasselbeck Speaks Out on Sexual Harassment Claims Against Fox News CEO Roger Ailes

Elisabeth Hasselbeck is speaking out in defense of Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes following Gretchen Carlson filing a sexual harassment lawsuit against him.

"Speaking from my personal experience, working for Roger Ailes and with Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade was by far the most rewarding time in my 16-year broadcasting career," the former Fox & Friends co-host told ET in a statement on Tuesday. "Because Roger, Steve, and Brian consistently treated me with overwhelming respect, and pure-hearted kindness, for which I am forever thankful."

WATCH: Gretchen Carlson on Sexual Harassment in 2015 -- 'I Just Want Women to Feel Secure Enough to Come Forward'

Hasselbeck left Fox News last year, and praised her time at the network upon announcing her exit. "Oftentimes, the most difficult decisions are between two great things," she said in a statement. "Throughout my 14 years working in television, I have never experienced a more positive and thoughtful atmosphere than Fox News Channel, thanks to the strong leadership of (Fox News Chairman & CEO) Roger Ailes, who has created the best working environment a woman and mother could ask for. His understanding, compassion, and kindness was exemplified when I shared with him that I am entering into a season where I want to start my day with my children first, and he offered his blessing to do so."

Last Wednesday, after 11 years with the cable news network, Carlson, who was the anchor of The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, took to social media to announce her official departure. "As you may have heard, I am no longer with Fox News," the 50-year-old journalist shared on 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 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."

WATCH: Gretchen Carlson's Attorney Says There May Be More Women Coming Forward Against Roger Ailes

Ailes denies Carlson's claims against him, and released 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."

In addition to Hasselbeck, several other women have come out in defense of Ailes, including Greta Van Susteren, Maria Bartiromo, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Harris Faulkner, Martha MacCallum, Sandra Smith, Ainsley Earhardt, Mercedes Colwin, Jeanine Pirro and Neil Cavuto.

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