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Former Fox News Host Gretchen Carlson Says She Was Fired for Refusing to Have Sex With CEO Roger Ailes

Former Fox News Host Gretchen Carlson Says She Was Fired for Refusing to Have Sex With CEO Roger Ailes

Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against her former boss CEO Roger Ailes, alleging she was fired after she repeatedly refused Ailes' sexual advances.

After 11 years at Fox News, Carlson announced via social media on Wednesday morning that she was no longer with the network. Carlson was formerly a cohost of the morning program "Fox & Friends" and anchored her own afternoon show, "The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson."

Carlson filed the lawsuit on Wednesday morning and, among other accusations, alleged that on multiple occasions Ailes directed her to turn around so he could leer at her posterior, made comments about her legs, and instructed her to wear more revealing outfits. In the complaint, Carlson claimed that she met with Ailes last September to bring an end to his behavior and he responded by saying, "I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago," adding that "sometimes problems are easier to solve" that way.

In addition to experiencing sexual harassment, Carlson alleged that she received unfair treatment compared to her male colleagues. Ailes allegedly referred to her as a "man hater" and a "killer" who tried to "show up the boys" on the network. Carlson's suit says she experienced cuts in compensation, advertising support, and air time because of her refusal to give in to Ailes' advances. Carlson claims that Ailes continued to shun, ostracize, and humiliate her, all while decreeing that her contract would not be renewed.

“I have strived to empower women and girls throughout my entire career,” Carlson said in a statement. “Although this was a difficult step to take, I had to stand up for myself and speak out for all women and the next generation of women in the workplace. I am extremely proud of my accomplishments at Fox News and for keeping our loyal viewers engaged and informed on events and news topics of the day.” 

A representative from Fox News was not available for comment at press time. 

UPDATE: In an email to Glamour, a representative from the Fox News Network issued the following statement on behalf of Roger Ailes:

“Gretchen Carlson’s allegations are false. This is a retaliatory suit for the network’s decision not to renew her contract, which was due to the fact that her disappointingly low ratings were dragging down the afternoon lineup. When Fox News did not commence any negotiations to renew her contract, Ms. Carlson became aware that her career with the network was likely over and conveniently began to pursue a lawsuit. Ironically, FOX News provided her with more on-air opportunities over her 11 year tenure than any other employer in the industry, for which she thanked me in her recent book. This defamatory lawsuit is not only offensive, it is wholly without merit and will be defended vigorously.”

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Photo Credit: Getty Images