21st Century Fox has officially settled its case with former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson.
Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit
against former network CEO Roger Ailes in July, claiming that he "sabotaged her career" because she "refused his sexual advances and complained about severe and pervasive sexual harassment." 21st Century Fox has agreed to settle Carlson's suit, ET can confirm. Fox will pay Carlson $20 million, on behalf of Ailes, according to Vanity Fair.
"21st Century Fox is pleased to announce that it has settled Gretchen Carlson's lawsuit," the media corporation said in a statement to ET on Tuesday. "During her tenure at Fox News, Gretchen exhibited the highest standards of journalism and professionalism. She developed a loyal audience and was a daily source of information for many Americans. We are proud that she was part of the Fox News team. We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve."
Carlson said she was "ready to move on" in her own statement on Tuesday. The 50-year-old journalist, who was the anchor of The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, had been with the network 11 years before exiting in July.
"I am gratified that 21st Century Fox took decisive action after I filed my Complaint," the statement reads. "I'm ready to move on to the next chapter of my life in which I will redouble my efforts to empower women in the workplace. I want to thank all the brave women who came forward to tell their own stories and the many people across the country who embraced and supported me in their #StandWithGretchen. All women deserve a dignified and respectful workplace in which talent, hard work and loyalty are recognized, revered and rewarded."
On Tuesday, Fox News also announced that Greta Van Susteren will depart the network after 14 years. No reason was given for Van Susteren's departure. Senior political analyst Brit Hume will take over as anchor of On the Record.
"We are grateful for Greta's many contributions over the years and wish her continued success," the network's co-presidents, Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine, said in a statement.
Ailes, 76, officially resigned as CEO and Chairman
of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, and Chairman of Fox Television Stations in July. Ailes has denied Carlson's claims, and called her lawsuit a retaliation for the network's decision not to renew her contract.
"Gretchen Carlson's allegations are false," Ailes said in a statement to ET in July. "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 her lawsuit, Carlson claimed 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." She also claimed 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's lawyer, Nancy Erika Smith, told ET at the time that Carlson isn't the only woman
claiming to have been victimized by Ailes. "I think we are at more than 10 that have reached out," Smith told ET. "They have called my office and they have sent emails over my website claiming that they also have been victimized by Roger Ailes."
Carlson sat down with ET in a June 2015 interview, a year before she filed her lawsuit, when she talked about the struggles she's faced
as a woman in the workplace.
"Sometimes when women come forward about sexual harassment they're seen as a troublemaker," Carlson said. "I'm hoping that we've come a long way in 2015. I actually always say that I have a son and a daughter, but I work more for my son, because I want him to respect women when he gets into the real world like he respects his mom right now."