Behind the scenes: How Roger Ailes's alleged victims took him down

Taking on Ailes was dangerous, but Carlson was determined to fight back. She settled on a simple strategy: She would turn the tables on his surveillance. Beginning in 2014, according to a person familiar with the lawsuit, Carlson brought her iPhone to meetings in Ailes’s office and secretly recorded him saying the kinds of things he’d been saying to her all along. “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. Sometimes problems are easier to solve” that way, he said in one conversation. “I’m sure you can do sweet nothings when you want to,” he said another time…

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Beyond the James and Lachlan factor, the relationship between Murdoch and Ailes was becoming strained: Murdoch didn’t like that Ailes was putting Fox so squarely behind the candidacy of Donald Trump. And he had begun to worry less about whether Fox could endure without its creator. (In recent years, Ailes had taken extended health leaves from Fox and the ratings held.) Now Ailes had made himself a true liability: More than two dozen Fox News women told the Paul, Weiss lawyers about their harassment in graphic terms. The most significant of the accusers was Megyn Kelly, who is in contract negotiations with Fox and is considered by the Murdochs to be the future of the network. So important to Fox is Kelly that Lachlan personally approved her reported $6 million book advance from Murdoch-­controlled publisher HarperCollins, according to two sources…

But most striking is the extent to which Ailes ruled Fox News like a surveillance state. According to executives, he instructed Fox’s head of engineering, Warren Vandeveer, to install a CCTV system that allowed Ailes to monitor Fox offices, studios, greenrooms, the back entrance, and his homes. When Ailes spotted James Murdoch on the monitor smoking a cigarette outside the office, he remarked to his deputy Bill Shine, “Tell me that mouth hasn’t sucked a cock,” according to an executive who was in the room; Shine laughed. (A Fox spokesperson said Shine did not recall this.) Fox’s IT department also monitored employee email, according to sources. When I asked Fox’s director of IT, Deborah Sadusingh, about email searches, she said, “I can’t remember all the searches I’ve done.”…

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Still, the whispers about Ailes and women were growing louder. Karem Alsina, a former Fox makeup artist, told me she grew suspicious when Fox anchors came to see her before private meetings with Ailes to have their makeup done. “They would say, ‘I’m going to see Roger, gotta look beautiful!’ ” she recalled. “One of them came back down after a meeting, and the makeup on her nose and chin was gone.”

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