Fox News to Review Gretchen Carlson's Harassment Claims; Roger Ailes Says Lawsuit Is 'Offensive,' 'Without Merit'

Gretchen Carlson Roger Ailes Lawsuit

Both 21st Century Fox and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes have — in quite different manners — responded to the sexual harassment lawsuit filed on Wednesday by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson.

Carlson’s eight-page suit claims says she was fired on June 23 after refusing Ailes’ sexual advances. She alleges that, upon requesting a meeting to discuss Ailes’ retaliatory and discriminatory practices, he told her in September 2015, “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.” Ailes’ alleged “retaliation” continued through June, when Carlson’s contract was not renewed and she was dropped from The Real Story.

The lawsuit also names Steve Doocy, alleging that the Fox & Friends co-host engaged in a “pattern and practice of severe and pervasive sexual harassment of Carlson, including, but no limited to, mocking her during commercial breaks… and generally attempting to put her in her place by refusing to accept and treat her as an intelligent and insightful journalist rather than a blond female prop.” Carlson claims she was fired from Fox & Friends in 2013 after complaining about Doocy’s behavior.

A spokesperson for 21st Century Fox on Wednesday afternoon issued a statement saying, “We take these matters seriously. While we have full confidence in Mr. Ailes and Mr. Doocy, who have served the company brilliantly for over two decades, we have commenced an internal review of the matter.”

Ailes meanwhile was a bit more on the defensive, saying in a statement, “Gretchen Carlson’s allegations are false. This is a retaliatory suit for [Fox News’] 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.

“This defamatory lawsuit is not only offensive,” Ailes added, “it is wholly without merit and will be defended vigorously.”