Quid pro quo

Spate of sexual harassment claims against Fox News CEO Roger Ailes surface

Gretchen Carlson and Roger Ailes. (Noam Galai; Getty Images; Wesley Mann/FOX)

In the wake of former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit alleging sexual harassment against Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, Carlson’s lawyer, Nancy Erika Smith, says that more than a dozen women have contacted her with their own allegations of harassment. “These are women who have never told these stories until now,” said Smith. “Some are in a lot of pain.” Six of these women agreed to share their stories with New York magazine — two on the record, the rest anonymously.

Kellie Boyle, 54, a former Republican National Committee field advisor, alleged that Ailes, who she had met through her husband, invited her to dinner in Washington D.C. after she told him she would soon be heading down to the capital to sign a contract with the National Republican Congressional Committee. The dinner itself was fine, but Boyle said that Ailes propositioned her on the car ride home, telling her, “You know if you want to play with the big boys, you have to lay with the big boys.” Boyle said Ailes then rattled off a list of other women he had slept with, explaining to her that “that’s the way it works … everyone’s got their friend.”

Finally, when Boyle asked Ailes if she would have to be “friends” with anyone else, Boyle says he told her “you might have to give a blow job once in a while.” Boyle refused his offer — the next morning, she learned that her meeting with the NRCC had been canceled. When she asked a friend in the RNC what had happened, he told her that “word went out [she wasn’t] to be hired.” All five of the other women to share their stories with NY Mag also said that Ailes propositioned them in return for jobs.

A number of Fox News staff, including current hosts Greta Van Susteren, Jeanine Pirro, and Kimberly Guilfoyle and former Fox News anchor Kiran Chetry, have come forward in defense of Ailes. Shortly after publication of the New York magazine piece, Ailes’s attorney, Barry Asen, dismissed the allegations as “desperate” and “false.” In a response to Asen’s statement, Carlson’s attorneys accused Asen of attempting to “silence” women, and questioned how, “without any investigation, within three hours,” Asen was able to determine the allegations to be untrue.

Read the full story at New York magazine.


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