New details of the fallout from a lawsuit against Roger Ailes continue to emerge weeks after the Fox News executive's resignation.
Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson made national headlines in early July 2016 when she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes, her former employer, reports The New York Times. In the lawsuit, Carlson alleges that Ailes encouraged a hostile, sexist work environment and retaliated against her for refusing his sexual advances.
In a statement, Ailes called the lawsuit "defamatory" and "wholly without merit." He claimed that Fox decided not to renew Carlson’s contract due to low ratings.
In the wake of the announcement of Carlson’s lawsuit, more than 20 other women who have worked with Ailes have come forward with claims of harassment, including reports of intimidation, unwanted sexual advances, misogynist comments, and a sexist “boy’s-club” work environment.
Ailes resigned from his position as CEO of Fox News on July 21. He is now discussing the possibility of a settlement with Carlson’s lawyers, according to Vanity Fair, Fortune reports.
Reports of sexual harassment are not the only claims of abuse of power being leveled against Ailes. New accounts of a “feudal” company culture were detailed in a Fortune piece. Multiple unnamed Fox News employees told reporters that they believed that Ailes was recording their phone calls or having them followed.
Other reports called Ailes “notoriously paranoid,” describing a bunker-like office and team of personal operatives. These operatives, paid for out of the Fox budget, reportedly ran PR campaigns against Ailes’ enemies and conducted secret surveillance.
Fox has dismissed six such consultants since Ailes left the company.
Gabriel Sherman, the author of the New York magazine article, reported being himself a victim of the operations of Ailes’ so-called “Black Room.” Sherman claims a source told him that Ailes used Fox funds to run an online attack campaign against the writer while Sherman was researching a biography of Ailes in 2012.
Sources say that Ailes, who had been CEO of Fox News since the network’s creation, cultivated a secretive work environment built on absolute loyalty to him.
“It was the culture,” an unnamed executive said. “You didn’t ask questions, and Roger wouldn’t entertain questions.”