Roger Ailes, the Fox News CEO and one of the most influential executives in television, will be ousted by Rupert Murdoch and his sons, Lachlan and James, New York Magazine reports. On July 19, Deadline confirmed that Ailes was officially fired. The Drudge Report reported that Aiels was given over $40 million to leave, although the Drudge Report deleted its tweet.
“Roger is at work. The review is ongoing. And the only agreement that is in place is his existing employment agreement,” a Fox News spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter.
On July 21, The New York Times confirmed that Ailes has resigned.
“Roger shared my vision of a great and independent television organization and executed it brilliantly over 20 great years,” Rupert Murdoch said in a statement that didn’t mention the sexual assault allegations against Ailes. “Fox News has given voice to those who were ignored by the traditional networks and has been one of the great commercial success stories of modern media.”
The decision comes after Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes on July 6.
New York Magazine, citing two sources who have been briefed on the internal investigation of the 76-year-old Ailes, reports that James Murdoch is arguing that Ailes be forced to resign as soon as this week. Lachlan and Rupert Murdoch believe that they should wait until after the Republican National Convention this week.
The investigation into Ailes was launched after Carlson filed a lawsuit, claiming that Ailes made sexual advances towards her and fired her after she refused him. She claimed that her rejection of Ailes resulted in her being removed from Fox & Friends and appearances on other shows were limited. She was given a 2 p.m. timeslot. Carlson argued that her ratings went up, but Ailes’ response said that Carlson was not offered a new contract because her ratings were down.
Since Carlson’s lawsuit, six other women came forward with allegations of sexual assault by Ailes. Claims were also published in the unauthorized 2014 book The Loudest Voice in the Room. A Fox News spokesperson denied those allegations in 2014.
On July 12, Fox Business Network host Neil Cavuto wrote an op-ed defending Ailes. Cavuto is also senior VP and managing editor at Fox News. According to New York Magazine, Paul, Weiss, the firm conducting the investigation into Ailes, are looking at how Ailes pressures his employees to defend him in public. Cavuto’s op-ed might be an example of that.
Fox and Ailes’ representatives have not comment on the report. One Fox anchor did tell the magazine that, “The mood is bleak.”
UPDATE: New York Magazine’s sources told the site that Kelly told the independent investigators that Ailes made sexual advances towards her a decade ago, but she refused. That’s possibly why Kelly has been silent while other Fox News anchors defend their boss.
Ailes signed a new contract with Fox in June 2015, which assigned him the roles of chairman and CEO of Fox News and Fox Business Network, and Fox Television Stations chairman. That same month, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Ailes is now reporting to James and Lachlan Murdoch, not their father.
Ailes has been at Fox since 1996, when Fox News launched.