Two weeks after Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes resigned. Carlson and her lawyers quickly issued a statement, saying that her lawsuit caused a “seismic shift.”
In a statement to Heavy.com, attorneys Nancy Erika Smith and Martin Hyman said:
Within just two weeks of her filing a lawsuit against Roger Ailes, Gretchen Carlson’s extraordinary courage has caused a seismic shift in the media world. We hope that all businesses now understand that women will no longer tolerate sexual harassment and reputable companies will no longer shield those who abuse women. We thank all the brave women who spoke out about this issue. We will have more to say in coming days as events unfold.
The statement form 21st Century Fox announcing Ailes’ resignation did not mention the sexual harassment lawsuit. Instead, Fox Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch said that Ailes made “a remarkable contribution to our company and our country,” adding that, “Roger shared my vision of a great and independent television organization and executed it brilliantly over 20 great years.”
Murdoch’s sons, Lachlan and James, added:
We join our father in recognizing Roger’s remarkable contributions to our company. Our talented Fox News and Fox Business colleagues, up and down the organization and on both sides of the camera, have built something that continues to redefine the cable news experience for millions of viewers. We are enormously proud of their accomplishments. For them, as well as for our colleagues across our entire organization, we continue our commitment to maintaining a work environment based on trust and respect. We take seriously our responsibility to uphold these traditional, long-standing values of our company.
Ailes’ resignation letter was made public by The Drudge Report. In it, Ailes prided himself for “the role that I have played advancing the careers of the many women I have promoted to executive and on-air positions.” He went on to write, “Having spent 20 years building this historic business, 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.”
Carlson filed her lawsuit on July 6, claiming that she was fired by Fox News because she rejected Ailes’ sexual advances. She claimed that she was taken off Fox & Friends and given an afternoon timeslot. The lawsuit included a description of a September 2015 incident, in which Ailes allegedly told her, “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.”
Ailes was largely responsible for Fox News’ success over the past two decades and the network is the most-watched cable news network. His departure could cause chaos at the network, as Brietbart is reporting that Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Greta Van Susteren and several other major Fox News anchors are preparing to follow Ailes out the door.