Hostile workplace?

Fired anchor sues Fox News chief for sexual harassment

Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson (Getty Images).

In a lawsuit that is sure to rock the media world, a recently fired Fox News anchor is accusing the cable network’s top executive of sex harassment and retaliation, according to a report by CNN.

Gretchen Carlson, a longtime anchor for Fox News and 1989 Miss America, alleges that she was terminated last month as retaliation for declining the sexual advances of Roger Ailes, the network’s CEO. Ailes is seen as one of the most powerful men in cable news and the Republican party, due to his ability to wield influence over which politicians get airtime on the highest-rated cable news network. Carlson accuses Ailes of having “injected sexual and/or sexist comments” into conversations and of making “sexual advances by various means.” The suit, filed in New Jersey Superior Court, Politico reported, accuses Ailes of making “sexually-charged comments” that ranged “from lewd innuendo, ogling and remarks about Ms. Carlson’s body to demands for sex as a way for her to improve her job standing.”

According to the lawsuit, Carlson, an 11-year veteran at Fox News until she was let go, also alleges she tried to challenge unequal treatment by male colleagues in the newsroom. When she asked for a meeting with Ailes to discuss the topic last September, the response from Ailes was, “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,” according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by CNN. Carlson’s lawyers told CNN that she’s not suing the Fox News Network and is only targeting Ailes with the lawsuit.

Carlson was hired by Fox News in 2005 and anchored the popular Fox and Friends morning show until 2013. She was then reassigned to an afternoon slot and hosted The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson until her termination last month. According to The New York Times, Carlson’s show consistently won its time slot, drawing an average of 1.1 million viewers per day. Prior to joining Fox News, Carlson worked as a correspondent for CBS news for five years and several local news stations before that. In 1989, Carlson, from Minnesota, was crowned Miss America. Watch a video clip of her victory below.

As CNN reporter Tom Kludt pointed out in a post on Twitter, her Miss America win was a topic that reportedly came up in one of Ailes’ infamous tirades. “She’s pretty,” Ailes reportedly said, according to a biography of the network chief. “But did she ever get anyone elected, even a dog catcher?” Ailes, referring to Carlson having been Miss America, reportedly said, “It must not have been a good year.”

CNN reported that a spokesperson for Ailes didn’t immediately respond to questions about the allegations.

Read the full story at CNN.

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