Roger Ailes, the 76-year old cofounder and CEO of Fox News is on his way out in a shakeup that could radically alter America’s most popular cable news channel.
The former Republican presidential campaign advisor turned conservative media giant was accused last month of sexual harassment and other misconduct by former Fox & Friends cohost Gretchen Carlson after Fox News abruptly declined to renew her contract.
Carlson alleges that Ailes made “sexually-charged comments” to her, including “lewd innuendo, ogling, and remarks about Ms. Carlson’s body.” Carlson filed suit, charging she was wrongly terminated following her complaints about ongoing harassment. The suit also claims that Ailes had made “demands for sex as a way for her to improve her job standing.”
On Tuesday another bombshell was unearthed when New York Magazine revealed reports that one of Fox News’ top prime-time hosts, Megyn Kelly, had also accused Ailes of sexually harassment in the past.
Kelly, the host of The Kelly Files, has praised Ailes in the past, yet according to the report claimed that Ailes had harassed her early in her career at Fox News. No details on the alleged harassment have been revealed.
But close to a dozen other female hosts at Fox News have gone public slamming accusations against Ailes and praising him for his work at the cable news network.
Nevertheless reports have emerged that Rupert Murdoch, founder and owner of Fox News parent company Twenty-First Century Fox, is pressing Ailes to step down as CEO.
Ailes’ attorney acknowledged that the CEO is in the “advanced stages” of negotiations with the network’s parent company, suggesting his departure is in fact likely.
After 20 years at the helm of Fox News, it’s unclear what the shakeup means for the network. A number of the channel’s top prime-time hosts have close ties to Ailes and even included clauses in their contracts allowing them to depart should Ailes leave the network. Bill O’Reilly, Greta Van Susteren, and Sean Hannity may all be poised to quit Fox News if Ailes does indeed retire.