To let Gretchen Carlson tell it, Fox News is “fair and balanced” alright, but only if you’re a man or willing to have sex with CEO Roger Ailes. That’s according to a civil lawsuit filed today in a New Jersey state court, in which Carlson, who recently parted ways with Fox News after 11 years, accused Ailes of refusing to renew her contract because Carlson refused his sexual advances.
In the court filing, first obtained by Deadline, Carlson alleges she was subjected to a hostile work environment during her seven-and-a-half years as a co-anchor of FNC’s Fox And Friends morning show. Carlson says her former co-host Steve Doocy continually harassed her by mocking her during commercial breaks, giving her the cold shoulder on air, and “refusing to accept and treat her as an intelligent and insightful female journalist rather than a blond female prop.”
When Carlson brought her concerns to Ailes, she says he responded in the most Spanky-like manner imaginable. “After learning of Carlson’s complaints, Ailes responded by calling Carlson a ‘man-hater’ and ‘killer’ and telling her that she needed to learn how to ‘get along with the boys.’” Ailes allegedly retaliated against Carlson for refusing to drop the matter, which she says led to her dismissal from Fox And Friends and subsequent reassignment to a lower-profile afternoon slot.
In September 2015, Carlson says she convened a meeting with Ailes to try to put a stop to the harassment, only to be harassed further. “Ailes stated to Carlson: ‘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,’” reads the complaint. Carlson suspects the meeting, and her continued refusal to acquiesce to his sexual demands, led Ailes not to renew her contract when it expired late last month.
Carlson is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. The complaint is available here.