Television personality Gretchen Carlson appears on the set of ‘Fox & Friends’. Photo: AP
Fox News said on Tuesday it had settled a sexual harassment lawsuit by former news host Gretchen Carlson against cable channel boss Roger Ailes for a reported US$20 million, and apologised for her treatment on the job.
A statement offered no details on the settlement, but the magazine Vanity Fair, citing sources familiar with the case, said Fox would pay the multi-million-dollar sum to the journalist and former Miss America.
We sincerely regret and apologise for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve
A statement by the parent firm 21st Century Fox said, “We sincerely regret and apologise for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve.”
The lawsuit led to the resignation of the politically powerful Ailes, a confidante of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch who helped build Fox into a leader in cable news.
In the statement, Carlson said she was “gratified” with the settlement and added, “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.”
Ailes had denied allegations that he had sought to pressure Carlson into a sexual relationship, but the lawsuit led to reports of other women coming forward to support Carlson’s allegations of a hostile work environment.
Carlson, a top Fox personality, had been with the network for more than a decade.
According to the lawsuit, Ailes “unlawfully retaliated against Carlson and sabotaged her career because she refused his sexual advances and complained about severe and pervasive sexual harassment”.
Ailes fired Carlson, the complaint said, on June 23 after “ostracising, marginalising and shunning her” and making it clear that “these ‘problems’ would not have existed, and could be solved if she had a sexual relationship with him”.