More than 20 women have now come forward accusing Fox News CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harassment over a decades-long period, following the initial accusation in a lawsuit filed by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson. Now, a former employee of Ailes who eventually rose in the industry to become the Executive Producer of ABC’s Good Morning America says that she, too, was harassed by Ailes early in her career, when he was a producer of an NBC talk show and she wanted to break into the business. In 1981, Shelley Ross landed an interview with Ailes for The Tomorrow Show Coast to Coast.
“Later that night, I called Roger to officially accept the job and he invited me to lunch the next day,” Shelley writes in an essay for The Daily Beast. “Only this meeting would be different. I can’t remember the restaurant, but I can recall every bit of the conversation as if it was on videotape.”
Ailes began that lunch conversation with the question, “When did you first discover you were sexy?” and followed it with a speech about loyalty, in which he said it was important to him and that the best expression of loyalty, he thought, was a “sexual alliance” with Shelley that would be mutually beneficial. She tried to politely turn him down, she writes, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. Shelley left the lunch and called her attorney, who ran her complaint up the NBC chain of attorneys.
“Roger, we’re calling because you have a little ‘boy-girl’ problem that’s come to our attention,” one of the attorneys told Ailes in a conference call, she says. Following that call, Ailes apologized to Shelley after flying her first-class to New York from California, and asked her to take the job despite his behavior. She did, believing he was genuinely sorry, and launched a successful career under him that eventually led to her rise through the industry’s ranks. As she rose, she kept in touch with Ailes for more than three decades. She tackled sexual harassment stories as a journalist, and saw sexual harassment throughout the industry.
After watching, dodging, and experiencing sexual harassment for 30 years, I just want it to end,” she writes.
Read the full story at The Daily Beast.