Roger Ailes, the TV executive who built Fox News from the ground up has resigned in the midst of a slew of sexual harassment allegations. Ailes became the founding CEO of Fox News in 1996.
“I take particular pride in the role that I have played advancing the careers of the many women I have promoted to executive and on-air positions,” Ailes wrote in the letter, which his lawyer Susan Estrich provided to Reuters. However, he added: “I will not allow my presence to become a distraction from the work that must be done every day to ensure that Fox News and Fox Business continue to lead our industry.”
That distraction came in the form of sexual harassment allegations from Fox News anchors Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly.
Carlson, who was released from Fox News, claimed that her time with Fox came to an end after she rebuffed Ailes’ sexual advances.
Carlson filed a complaint against Ailes after his response to her other complaint about sexual harassment from Steve Doocy, one of her former co-hosts.
“I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better,” the complaint against Ailes says Ailes told Carlson last September when she complained to him. He allegedly added, “Sometimes problems are easier to solve that way.”
Ailes denied all charges against him.
“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” Ailes’s statement said. “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.”
This week it was revealed that Megyn Kelly recently told investigators that Ailes harassed her 10 years ago.
Ailes resignation is effective immediately and Rupert Murdoch, head of Fox News’ parent company 21st Century Fox has taken over his duties.