Fox News settled a sexual harrassment lawsuit Tuesday by former morning anchor Gretchen Carlson against former chairman Roger Ailes for $20 million. The parent company, 21st Century Fox, also issued a public apology to Carlson.
Ailes, who co-founded Fox News in 1996, reportedly had a long history of sexual harassment, according to Gabriel Sherman's report in New York Magazine. After Carlson filed suit, many more women came forward with their own sexual harassment complaints against the 76-year-old, prompting him to step down.
Carlson, 50, who had been a co-anchor on the morning program "Fox & Friends" reportedly had taped recordings of Ailes' comments.
"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, Ailes reportedly said in a taped conversation.
After Carlson complained about a sexist environment, Ailes replied that she was a “man hater” and that she should “learn to ‘get along with the boys,’” according to the suit.
Carlson voluntarily dismissed her suit, according to court documents, and never included Fox as a defendant.
"21st Century Fox is pleased to announce that it has settled Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit," reported the company in a statement. "During her tenure at Fox News, Gretchen exhibited the highest standards of journalism and professionalism. She developed a loyal audience and was a daily source of information for many Americans. We are proud that she was part of the Fox News team. We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve.”
Carlson joined Fox in 2005. She was later "demoted" from "Fox & Friends" to her own afternoon show, "The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson."
“I’m ready to move on to the next chapter of my life in which I will redouble my efforts to empower women in the workplace,” Carlson said in a statement. “All women deserve a dignified and respectful workplace in which talent, hard work and loyalty are recognized, revered and rewarded.”
Fox News, the highest-rated cable news network in the U.S., reportedly gave Ailes a $40 million severance package. He will not contribute to the settlement, according to the Washington Post.