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Fox News Anchor Gretchen Carlson Sues CEO Roger Ailes for Alleged Sexual Harassment and Retaliation
Gretchen Carlson is suing Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. According to her court filing, Carlson is alleging that her former employer "Ailes has unlawfully retaliated against Carlson and sabotaged her career because she refused sexual advances and complained about severe and pervasive sexual harassment."
"I have strived to empower women and girls throughout my entire career," Carlson, now 50, said in a statement on Wednesday. "Although this was a difficult step to take, I had to stand up for myself and speak out for all women and the next generation of women in the workplace. I am extremely proud of my accomplishments at Fox News and for keeping our loyal viewers engaged and informed on events and news topics of the day."
Carlson claims the biggest form of Ailes' retaliation was her firing from Fox News on June 23, nine months after allegedly "ostracizing, marginalizing and shunning" the Real Story anchor before suggesting she engage in a sexual relationship with him.
According to the legal filing: "As a direct and proximate result of her refusing his sexual advances and in retaliation for Carlson's complaints about discrimination and harassment, Ailes terminated her employment, causing her significant, emotional and professional harm."
Also under fire in Carlson's filing is former Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy, whom Carlson claims "regularly treat[ed] her in a sexist and condescending way" when they worked together. The lawsuit claims Doocy "engaged in a pattern and practice of severe and pervasive sexual harassment" that was tantamount to treating her as "a blond female prop."
Carlson – a Stanford University graduate and former Miss America – alleges Ailes, now 76, called her a "man hater" when she complained to him in 2009 about Doocy's behavior.
Carlson claims she once again confronted Ailes in a meeting last September, and according to the legal documents: "Ailes stated: '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,' adding that 'sometimes problems are easier to solve' that way.' "
Carlson alleges that Ailes subsequently "pursued a highly personal agenda" by limiting her assignments and exposure on the network, and ultimately firing her from Fox & Friends in 2013, which resulted in a new time slot and a pay cut.
Carlson's suit claims Ailes urged her to "stop worrying about being treated equally and getting 'offended so God d--- easy about everything.' "
She alleges he asked "her to turn around so he could view her posterior," commented on her body and wardrobe and once told her "she was 'sexy,' but 'too much hard work.' "
Carlson, who has been married to sports agent Casey Close since 1997, is seeking an undisclosed amount for "lost compensation, damaged career path, damage to reputation and pain and suffering damages."
'By and through his creation of a discriminator, hostile and harassing work environment, his demands for sexual favors, and his retaliation against Carlson for her objections to discrimination and retaliation, Ailes has violated the New York City Human Rights Law,' reads the complaint, which was filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey.
Ailes, 76, has been married to Elizabeth Tilson since 1998 and the couple has one child. He allegedly stated that marriage was 'boring,' 'hard,' and 'not much fun' according to claims made by Carlson in her complaint.