A former Fox News anchor is suing the network’s chairman for sexual harassment, claiming he wrongfully fired her after she rebuffed years of unwanted advances.
Gretchen Carlson, 50, claimed in a lawsuit that Roger Ailes took her off the morning show Fox & Friends in 2013 and cut her pay because she refused to have sex with him, Reuters reports.
The network is not named in the lawsuit and Carlson’s lawyer, Nancy Erika Smith, said she has no reason to believe Fox condoned or authorized Ailes’ behavior of Ailes.
A Fox News representative did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Ailes was a media consultant for several US Republican party presidents, including George H.W. Bush.
He has also been a confidant of 21st Century Fox executive co-chairman Rupert Murdoch, who named Ailes founding chief executive of Fox News Channel in 1996.
Fox News is a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox.
The lawsuit filed in New Jersey state court accused the 76-year-old Ailes of wrongfully firing her and before that “ostracizing, marginalizing and shunning her after making clear to her that these ‘problems’ would not have existed, and could be solved, if she had a sexual relationship with him”.
Ailes called Carlson a “man hater” and criticized her for being offended when she had confrontations with former Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy, the lawsuit alleged.
The lawsuit claimed that Doocy treated Carlson as a “blond female prop”, refusing to engage with her on air and belittling her contributions to the show.
Doocy was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
Fox News Channel, known for a lineup of politically conservative commentators that makes it popular with Republican party audiences, is drawing record viewer ratings this year.
The network was the most-watched channel in all of basic cable television with an average of 2.2 million prime time viewers, according to Nielsen data through June.
Ailes personally intervened when Republican party presidential candidate Donald Trump made disparaging remarks about Fox anchor Megyn Kelly.
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