Gretchen Carlson files sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News' Roger Ailes (Update: Statement from Ailes)

Fox News dropped long-time host Gretchen Carlson on June 23rd when her contract expired. In response, Carlson has filed a lawsuit for wrongful termination and sexual harassment against CEO Roger Ailes.

Carlson had been with the network for 11 years. Neither Fox News nor Carlson announced the split when it happened. Wednesday morning an email from Carlson’s attorneys was sent to reporters detailing the lawsuit. Carlson has since posted this brief statement on Twitter:

Politico reports on the lawsuit Carlson has filed against Roger Ailes:

“[D]uring a meeting last September in which Ms. Carlson complained about ongoing discriminatory and retaliatory treatment, Mr. Ailes stated, “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,” adding that “sometimes problems are easier to solve’ that way,” according to Carlson’s lawyers.

On other occasions, the complaint alleges Ailes asked Carlson to “turn around so he could view her posterior, commented repeatedly about her legs, and instructed her to wear certain outfits that he claimed enhanced her figure.” Ailes also allegedly “directed sexist comments” about Carlson in public and announced to others at a industry event that “he had slept with three former Miss Americas, but not with her.”

Carlson claims she was dropped from Fox and Friends after complaining about co-host Steve Doocy. She was given her own afternoon show but her lawsuit says that was effectively a demotion and came with a cut in pay. An attorney representing Carlson tells Politico, “Opposing sexism and rejecting unwanted sexual come-ons should never cost a woman her job or subject her to disparagement and emotional anguish.”

Hot Air asked for comment on the lawsuit from Fox News but did not receive a response in time to be included in this story.

Update: Fox News’ CEO Roger Ailes issued the following statement about the lawsuit:

“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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