Fox News's parent company has agreed to pay former anchor and Fox and Friends host Gretchen Carlson $20 million to settle her sexual harassment lawsuit against former CEO Roger Ailes. 21st Century Fox released a statement today acknowledging and apologizing "for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve."
One odd part about the settlement is that Carlson hadn't named Fox News or 21st Century Fox in her lawsuit. And another is that Ailes, the man who resigned in the face of numerous allegations of harassment, allegedly won't contribute a dime to the settlement.
Carlson v. Ailes
As FindLaw's Casey Sullivan wrote at the time, Carlson's lawsuit was directed solely at then-Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. Although her allegations painted a bleak picture of rampant sexual harassment throughout the news room, Carlson wasn't seeking compensation from Fox.
But according to those familiar with the settlement, 21st Century Fox will pony up the full $20 million. "Mr. Ailes is not contributing anything," his attorney Susan Estrich told the New York Times. It is perhaps a sign of how pervasive sexual harassment was at Fox that the company is footing the bill for Carlson's settlement.
Other Hens in the Fox House
Carlson's weren't the only allegations against Ailes specifically and Fox News generally. After Carlson filed her lawsuit, news anchor Megyn Kelly and "The Five" host Andrea Tantaros came forward with similar allegations. And the New York Times reports that two unnamed women have settled with Fox following an investigation into accusations against Ailes, who resigned two weeks after Carlson went public.
As Gabriel Sherman, author of a book on Ailes and Fox News, told NPR:
"It's not about Roger Ailes. It's about a culture -- a television news network that played an undeniable role in reshaping American politics over the last 20 years. And it was a culture where this type of behavior was encouraged and protected. The allegations are that women routinely had to sleep with or be propositioned by their manager -- in many cases, Roger Ailes, but I've reported on another manager who did this -- in exchange for promotions."
Fox may have solved its Gretchen Carlson problem, but it doesn't look like the network is out of the woods just yet.